Invasive non-native weeds

Invasive non-native weeds are becoming an increasing source of concern here in the UK. The most commonly known invasive non-native weed is Japanese Knotweed but other examples include:

  • Giant Hogweed
  • Himalayan balsam
  • Rhododendron ponticum
  • New Zealand pigmy weed (this is banned from sale)

It is not actually an offence to grow invasive non-native weeds on your own land but it is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to allow them to spread into the wild. You must also not allow them to spread to neighbouring properties and you can be sued for damages for causing a private nuisance if you do.

We do not provide a service for removing invasive non-native weeds. These plants are extremely difficult to eradicate and there are restrictions on their disposal. We therefore highly recommend that you employ a specialist contractor to remove and dispose of them.

If you believe that one of these plants has spread to your land or property we would advise you to identify where the plant has spread from and then talk owner directly.

Should this fail, or not be possible, we may be able to help. However, you will need to provide positive identification of the weed from a professional source before contacting us as we cannot take action without this. We are happy to accept this confirmation via email. If the plant is coming from public land we will also need precise details of the location to help us trace the owner.

In some cases, where the plant is growing in more than one property, it may not be possible to determine beyond reasonable doubt where it started. In such instances, it is always best if the people affected can work together to deal with the problem, as this will be the quickest and most effective way.

For more information on invasive non-native weeds, including details on how to identify these plants, please visit gov.uk’s pages on Preventing Harmful Weeds and Non-Native Plants Spreading (external link)