Japanese Knotweed

What is it and what to do if you find it

Japanese knotweed can be identified using the guide on the Non-Native Species Secretariat website.

It causes problems because it:

  • can force its way through concrete or brick, so can damage buildings or roads
  • grows in thick clusters, which means native plants can’t grow
  • is very difficult to get rid of

Legal implications

  • It is not illegal to have Japanese Knotweed on your land
  • You do not need to notify anyone about Japanese Knotweed on your land
  • You are not obliged to remove or treat Japanese Knotweed, but you must not:
    • allow Japanese Knotweed to spread onto adjacent land - the owner of that land could take legal action against you
    • plant or encourage the spread of Japanese Knotweed outside of your property - this can include moving contaminated soil from one place to another or incorrectly handling and transporting contaminated material and plant cutting

What should you do on your property

On your property, you should aim to control this plant and, to prevent it becoming a problem in your neighbourhood.
Get information about how to control and dispose of Japanese knotweed on the GOV.UK website.
You must not:

  • put any part of it in your green garden waste bin, black wheelie bin or compost bin
  • take it to a tip, recycling centre or waste transfer station
  • dump or fly-tip cuttings

You must stop Japanese knotweed spreading from your land. You could be prosecuted if you allow it to spread onto someone else’s property. If you are a tenant, contact your housing association or landlord to report Japanese Knotweed.

On your neighbour’s property

If you're concerned that Japanese knotweed on your neighbour's land might spread onto your land, try and speak to them, they might not realise there’s an issue.
If the issue is still not sorted out, you could consider taking legal action. See take action through the courts on GOV.UK.

On land around a railway

Contact Network Rail if you find Japanese knotweed next to a railway line, embankment or station. Ask them to treat the problem.

Report Japanese Knotweed

If you are concerned about Japanese Knotweed on land in Plymouth let us know where it is by emailing scg@plymouth.gov.uk  Where it is on land owned by the council, we will include it in our treatment programme. We do not treat knotweed on land not owned by the council and you will need to contact the relevant land owner. You can find out information on land ownership on the GOV.UK website.