Legislation: Law & Acts

Japanese knotweed is governed by numerous laws and acts concerning the way in which it is treated and disposed of, due to its damaging ability to spread aggressively if mishandled.

Countryside and Wildlife Act 1981
Section 14(2) of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 states that "If any person plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild any plant which is included in part 2 of schedule 9, he shall be guilty of offence." Japanese knotweed is listed in this schedule and included within this legislation. Anyone convicted under section 14 of this act is liable to a fine of £5000 and/or 6 months imprisonment, or 2 years and/or an unlimited fine on indictment.

The Environment Protection Act 1990
This extensive legislation covers all areas of 'controlled waste' which includes Japanese knotweed soil and plant material. Failure to follow the guidelines set out by this legislation, including not having the correct licences to treat Japanese knotweed, can lead to prosecution.

Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005
Although Japanese knotweed is not covered by this legislation specifically, when certain residual herbicides are used, it then becomes hazardous and falls under this legislation. Failure to abide by this legislation will lead to prosecution.

Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994
This act states that waste is recovered and disposed of "without endangering human health and without using processes or methods which could harm the environment and in particular risk to water, soil, plants or animals or cause nuisance through noise, or odours or adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest." This has many implications for the treatment of Japanese knotweed including most of the treatment methods, and failure to use a licensed operative could leave you liable to prosecution.

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