Since its introduction to the UK in the 19th century, Japanese knotweed has been a real nuisance for people, businesses, buildings and the environment. As a result of its devastating and invasive nature, it has caused hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of pounds worth of damage to roads, infrastructure and local ecosystems, resulting in tremendous amounts of repair work and logistical nightmares.
This has lead to several legislative movements with laws put in place here in the UK to control the spread of Japanese knotweed, focusing on how it is stored, destroyed and reproduced. Since these laws have passed, people and businesses across the UK now understand how they are able to manage knotweed and what options are available to them if they were to come across, but are these laws the same across other countries?
We’re here to find out! So, read on to learn about how Japanese knotweed is controlled and managed throughout the world.
UK Knotweed Law
Before we take a look at the laws on knotweed across other countries, let’s remind ourselves about some of the most important legislation here in the UK.
Across the four nations that make up the United Kingdom, it is currently not an offence to allow Japanese knotweed to grow on your property. However, it is an offence to not dispose of any waste that may contain knotweed in the correct way, for example, not using licensed removers or landfill facilities.
READ MORE: Japanese Knotweed Law in the UK
Within both Scotland and Northern Ireland, allowing knotweed to spread to nearby properties is deemed a civil matter, whereas in Wales and England it is viewed differently. The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 enables the police and local authorities to issue community protection orders that require action for the spread of knotweed to be controlled.
Knotweed laws are also present when it comes to selling a property. Here, the selling party must complete property information forms that allow the seller to disclose any information regarding the property to the buyer, including any presence of knotweed. The forms vary across the UK where it is both a legal requirement and not a legal requirement to disclose any information about knotweed on your property.
Up to now, legal cases involving Japanese knotweed and properties have occurred in England and Wales only, with the majority concerned with professional negligence and misrepresentation.
Knotweed Law in Other Countries
When it comes to Japanese knotweed in Australia, the issues surrounding its presence aren’t as bad as here in the UK, in fact, knotweed is not widely naturalised in Australia with its presence currently restricted to Tasmania, Victoria and several areas within New South Wales. And just like the UK, the laws on knotweed vary between these three areas.
In Tasmania, all activities surrounding Japanese knotweed is prohibited under the Weed Management Act 1999. His includes the importation, distribution, purchase and selling of knotweed. In Victoria, knotweed is considered a state prohibited weed and is declared noxious, meaning the weed possesses a significant risk. Landowners in Victoria that identify knotweed on their properties are not encouraged to remove knotweed themselves, instead, they are required to contact the relevant authorities. There are currently no laws surrounding knotweed in New South Wales.
Under the EU Regulation 1143/2014 on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species, invasive weeds and plants similar to Japanese knotweed are regulated. Here, it is prohibited to introduce, transport, store or breed a particular species that is listed as an invasive weed. However, Japanese knotweed is not listed on the EU’s list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern, as a result, there are currently no regulations surrounding knotweed within many, but not all, European countries.
In Canada, there are several laws surrounding knotweed. Here, Japanese knotweed is listed by Alberta and British Columbia (BC) as a provincial noxious weed. Under Schedule A of the Weed Control Act, landowners are required to control the spread of noxious weeds and therefore knotweed. Under the Building Code Act, a municipality can pass property standards legislation that addresses the presence of weed deemed either noxious or a threat to the surrounding environment or human health and safety.
In Switzerland, the release of Japanese knotweed into the environment is prohibited. Here, knotweed is placed on a blacklist that consists of plants that damage biodiversity, health and the economy. The presence and spread of knotweed must therefore be prevented. According to other legislation, soil excavation that is contaminated with invasive alien organisms may only be used at extraction sites.
Recently there has been a revision to the Swiss Environment Protection Law that could force private individuals to implement control measures surrounding knotweed sometime in the future. Here, property owners would a duty to ensure that invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed that are found on their land can no longer spread with non-compliance resulting in a fine or a period of imprisonment of up to three years.
United States of America
As a result of each state having its own set of laws, the legislation surrounding Japanese Knotweed in the USA varies from place to place. In Michigan, for example, knotweed is legally prohibited. Here, it is illegal to possess or introduce knotweed without having a permit from the local authorities, except to have it identified or in conjunction with control efforts.
Minnesota has similar regulations regarding Japanese knotweed. Here, any person, business or other entity distributing knotweed for sale must have information directly affixed to the plant or packaging it is being sold with, indicating its invasive nature.
Other states such as Connecticut deem Japanese knotweed invasive and have banned it completely.
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These are just some of the laws regarding Japanese knotweed in other countries around the world! Like the UK, many have prohibitive laws surrounding the spread and disposal of knotweed. If you believe you have spotted knotweed on or near your property and require a professional service to identify and eradicate an infestation, please do not hesitate to contact Taylor Total Weed Control today!
Japanese Knotweed Removal
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