Japanese Knotweed is an invasive non-native species which,
having been brought to Britain as an ornamental garden plant in the
mid-nineteenth century, is now established in the wild. It spreads
quickly, crowding out native species and damaging their habitats,
and is extremely difficult to control.
Under section 14(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it
is an offence to plant or cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the
However, there is no statutory requirement for landowners to
remove these plants from their property once established
Whose responsibility is it to control Japanese
If the land is privately owned then the responsibility for the
control of this weed rests with the landowner or tenant of the
land. The Environment Agency or Worcestershire Regulatory Services
are not obliged to control this weed on behalf of private
landowners. Disputes between private landowners concerning the
control of this weed are a civil matter.
Complaints concerning Japanese Knotweed growing on Council-owned
land should be reported to Ron Evans via the Worcestershire Hub on
The control and eradication of Japanese Knotweed growing on
verges of large main roads (trunk roads) or motorways in the
district is the responsibility of the Worcestershire County Council
Q. I have Japanese Knotweed coming onto my land from
private land adjoining property. What can I do?
A. The best solution is to co-operate with the neighbouring
landowner and co-ordinate your control efforts, by sharing costs of
labour or herbicide. If you do not know who owns the adjoining land
or you are in dispute with your neighbour about the control of
Japanese Knotweed then current legislation offers little
The Environmental Protection Act 1990 provides a remedy if
Japanese Knotweed is causing a nuisance to private property. A
private nuisance is defined as an "unlawful interference with a
person's use or enjoyment of land, or some right over, or in
connection with it" (Read v Lyons & Co Ltd. 1945). A solicitor
or the Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to offer advice on how
to take private nuisance action against a landowner where
negotiations on control or eradication have failed.
Q. How do I control or eradicate Japanese knotweed on my
A. Regular cutting or pulling will, after a number of years,
eventually exhaust the rhizome and kill the plant. It is important
that all cut or pulled stems of Japanese Knotweed are kept on site
and disposed of by proper composting or burning. Since the plant
can regrow from even small fragments, all parts of the plant and
any soil contaminated with it are classified as controlled waste
and are required legally to be removed and disposed of by a
licensed waste control operator.
Dense stands of Japanese Knotweed can be treated with a
glyphosate-based herbicide, such as 'Roundup'. If the Japanese
Knotweed is sparsely distributed, spot-treat or use 2,4-D amine,
which is specific to broadleaved plants and will not harm grasses.
It may take two or three years to completely kill the entire
More effective control can be achieved if Japanese Knotweed is
cut or sprayed in early summer, and then sprayed again in late
summer before the winter dieback.
The use of herbicides in or near rivers, canals, lakes
or drainage channels requires prior agreement from the Environment
In order to contact the Environment Agency on such matters, call
their national communications centre on 08708 506 506. Herbicide
application forms can then be sent out upon request.
For further advice on the control and eradication of Japanese
Knotweed visit http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/ and
type Japanese Knotweed into the search box. You can also obtain the
herbicide application form referred to above using the same search