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Image illustrating gardens with Japanese Knotweed featuring the text "My neighbour has Japanese Knotweed, what should I do?"

JBB Knotweed News

My neighbour has Japanese knotweed – what should I do?

Japanese Knotweed in the UK has been receiving a lot of media attention this year. In a recent article we discussed some common questions people often ask when buying or selling a property with Japanese Knotweed – a very common line of questioning that we receive from clients.
A recent story in the news where a landowner was awarded compensation in a case where Japanese knotweed spread from neighbouring land onto their property, has increased the number of enquiries we have received from people asking this question…….

What should I do if my neighbour has Japanese Knotweed?

A sensible starting point is always to have a conversation with the neighbouring landowner. Make sure that they are aware of the issue and the potential implications that Japanese Knotweed can have on their land.
The first and most important piece of advice we give is – Don’t touch it, cut it, try to dig it up or attempt to spray chemicals on the knotweed. We always recommend that a Japanese Knotweed survey is completed as soon as possible to confirm identification and avoid any potential for inadvertent spread, potentially making the problem worse.

Does my neighbour legally have to remove Japanese Knotweed from their garden?

There is no legal requirement for a land owner to remove Japanese Knotweed in the UK if it is on their property.
Japanese Knotweed in the UK is covered under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, making it a legal offence to cause or allow Japanese Knotweed to spread from their land. Penalties can include fines and even imprisonment.
Japanese Knotweed in Scotland is further covered by the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (2011), which cites that it is a criminal offence to allow Japanese Knotweed or any Invasive to be planted or allowed to grow ‘out with its native range’.
Essentially this means that your next door neighbour does not not legally have to deal with Japanese Knotweed on their land, however if it spreads over their boundary – they may be in breach of legalisation and face legal action.

What to do if Japanese Knotweed has spread onto my property?

If you have discussed the issue with you neighbour, including their legal obligations, and they have failed to take action – what should you do next?
Japanese Knotweed in the UK is covered within the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014. At a local level this means that local authorities and police have powers to issue a Community Protection Notice (CPN) to individuals who are not taking reasonable action to prevent the spread of Japanese Knotweed onto neighbouring lands.
At a national level, The National Infrastructure Act 2015 also gives powers to Environmental Authorities to control Japanese Knotweed where enforcement is required.  
Japanese Knotweed in Scotland is also subject to The Scottish Government’s ‘Non-Native Species Code of Practice‘  which outlines a voluntary Species Control Agreement (SPA) which can be entered into in order to manage Japanese knotweed that has spread across boundaries. If the offending land owner has not signed up for, or failed to comply with an SPA, a Species Control Order (SPO) can be enforced.

How to resolve a Japanese Knotweed dispute with a neighbour?

When Japanese Knotweed exists on both your property and your neighbours property or where borders are not well defined or there are shared areas, it is not uncommon for a dispute to ensue regarding the origin of growth.
‘Who is responsible for removing Japanese Knotweed?’ or ‘Where did Japanese Knotweed growth first start from?’ questions are very common. They are also often not very helpful and can lead to long and drawn out disputes, which only lead to delays and cause the size the problem to grow (pun intended!).
JBB Knotweed Solutions regularly supports situations where disputes have arisen between neighbours. Controlling Japanese Knotweed can be a long process, over a number of years and it is always in both parties best interests to ensure that a Japanese Knotweed management plan is put in place as quickly as possible.
The below images are from a Japanese Knotweed survey in Glasgow, where growth appeared to be arsing from the centre of the fenced boundary line – in cases like this one, timely, amicable action between both neighbours is far more important than a long running, nugatory dispute around the origin of the Japanese Knotweed!
Japanese knotweed dispute between neighbours
Japanese knotweed dispute

Is there a way to protect my land from Japanese Knotweed?

If there is currently no Japanese Knotweed on your property, there are situations where land can be protected by having a root barrier membrane installed.
Root barrier membranes can be a very effective way of stopping Japanese Knotweed spreading onto (or from) your property. They should always be installed by a specialist who is trained to install them correctly, as the correct materials and methodology is very important .
Root Barriers cannot be installed in all situations and it is important remember that they are only a preventative measure and do not control Japanese Knotweed growth or completely remove the risk of spread.

Important advice for dealing with Japanese Knotweed

Do not be tempted to try and remove it yourself! In almost every single case we have attended where an attempt has been made to remove Japanese Knotweed, the situation has only been made worse or more difficult to deal with.
Arrange for the suspected growth to be identified as early as possible. JBB Knotweed Solutions offer a free identification service, where information and pictures can be submitted through our website.
A Japanese Knotweed survey is highly recommended, even if you do not necessarily suspect that the plant is present on your land. This will provide documented information about your property and the immediate boundaries, as well as give a baseline report with the potential risks detailed.
If you are unsure and still need advice, get in touch to speak with one of our Japanese Knotweed Specialists.
Japanese Knotweed Survey

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We can tell you if you definitely have Japanese

Knotweed on your property and recommend the

best course of action.

We can tell you if you definitely have Japanese Knotweed on your property and recommend the best course of action.