Invasive plants like Japanese knotweed can pose a serious threat to biodiversity, the economy, and human health.
The government has responded to these issues by bringing-in legislation to make businesses and individuals take responsibility over eradicating these types of plants on land they manage or own.
Japanese knotweed infestations can cause neighbour disputes leading to the issuing of anti-social behaviour orders, boundary disputes, and property disputes.
What is Japanese knotweed?
According to the government, non-native invasive plants like Japanese knotweed, Himalayan Balsam, and Giant Hogweed can “threaten our native biodiversity by crowding out native species and destabilising river banks. They can also cause damage to forestry, agriculture and infrastructure sectors”.
“Japanese knotweed, for example, can grow through tarmac and can cause structural damage to property, whilst Giant Hogweed can cause harm to human health. Individuals, businesses or organisations have a legal responsibility to prevent certain invasive non-native plants or injurious weeds on their premises spreading into the wild.”
These plants can reportedly grow up to 10 centimetres per day, cause blistering to the skin, and there have been cases where they have reached eight metres tall with roots that can spread more than 50 metres.
How to get rid of Japanese knotweed
The specific key to stopping Japanese knotweed is to not break the rhizome (the root) as that is effectively like spreading seeds.
A single broken rhizome can produce around three or more actual plants if left untreated.
How our dispute resolution solicitors can help
Failure to dispose of plants like Japanese knotweed effectively and safely can leave homeowners facing fines of up to £2,500 and companies could pay as much as £20,000.
Some individuals may face two years in prison for Japanese knotweed offences, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
If your neighbour has an invasive plant growing in their garden this could spread to your garden and damage your property. We can establish their liability and their failure to control these plants.
Our dispute resolution solicitors can take legal action on your behalf and force your neighbour to deal with the Japanese knotweed.
In these cases you can recover costs for the damage caused and your legal fees.
Similarly, if you are concerned that you have Japanese knotweed growing on your property we can represent you or your company and help protect your liability. The rail industry, developers, construction companies, and riverside businesses are often worst effected by these issues.
Japanese knotweed removal can be a challenging process. You cannot simply cut it down. We can recommend invasive plant removal specialists that can put an end to the infestation on your land.
We are also able to attend site visits to monitor and document the status of these invasive plants and check to see whether they are flowering.