Police tape

Failure to control Japanese Knotweed could give you a criminal record

Police tape

What is Japanese Knotweed?

Japanese Knotweed is a fast-growing plant of the ‘dock’ family, with bamboo-looking stems and small white flowers. It was originally brought to Britain for its beauty and was named the “most interesting ornamental plant of the year” in 1847. In Japan the climate and regular ash from the volcanic landscape would keep the plants small, whereas the environment in Britain allows it to grow out of control and become aggressive.

How can a plant give you a criminal record?

As a result of drops in house prices and many blaming their depression on the plant, Home Office issued guidance on Japanese Knotweed in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act of 2014. They say a person who has failed to act upon the growth of Japanese Knotweed to the extent that it affects the quality of life of those around it could find themselves being served with a Community Protection Notice.

Failure to then comply with the notice would result in a criminal offence and a large fine (which can be anything up to £2,500 for an individual and £20,000 for an organisation). In Scotland and Ireland, businesses in the local area are already held responsible for making sure Japanese Knotweed doesn’t spread to the local areas as it threatens biodiversity, the economy and human health.

How do I know if I have Japanese Knotweed?

Look for:

  • Red tinged roots and bamboo-like stems
  • Large heart shaped green leaves, arranged in a zig-zag across the stem
  • Clusters of white flowers around July time, that attract a lot of bees
  • Brown dead looking stems after it’s died back in September/November time
  • Dense clumps of overgrown plants

In its worst cases, Japanese Knotweed can grow up to 20cm a day. This results in swamping over other plants in the area leaving them with no source of light. Whilst it doesn’t produce seeds, its roots spread deep into the ground, which leads it to spring up elsewhere. Japanese Knotweed is strong and almost impossible to get rid of without professional help, as it can grow through concrete and tarmac ruining roads, buildings and destabilising river banks.

How do we get rid of it?

Many ways have been suggested as to how Japanese Knotweed should be controlled, with an estimated cost of completely eradicating the plant in Britain coming to £1.25 billion.
Scientists are looking into psyllids (Japenese insects said to eat and eradicate the plant), but no one is yet sure that this could work. You can also eat Japanese Knotweed or dig it out, but this would never fully remove it.

The most effective method is to hire a specialist to chemically treat the plants, which can be done through a couple of different methods depending on the conditions of the Japanese Knotweed. At Sussex Knotweed we offer our specialist services to help you remove Japanese Knotweed from your site.

Arrange a free site survey now by emailing john@sussexeps.co.uk or calling 01273 499029.

Posted in Law.

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