Invasive Species Advice

Not just Japanese Knotweed…


Schedule 9 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) includes any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health or the way we live. As of the 6th April 2010, there are now 48 plant species listed on this schedule and it is a criminal offence to cause any one of them to spread in the wild.

In addition to the infamous Japanese Knotweed, frequently encountered examples include Giant Hogweed and Indian (Himalayan) Balsam and also familiar garden favourites such as Rhododendron, Montbrettia and Garden Yellow Archangel. Many more Schedule 9 species were deliberately introduced by gardeners in the recent past to ornamental ponds and other aquatic habitats as a result of their attractiveness and ease of growing.

It is not an offence to simply have Schedule 9 species growing on your land and there is generally no legal requirement to control them. However, the problem arises when sites containing these species are due to be developed. Earth-moving (or even mulching) operations on sites can result in the inadvertent spread of these species so it is crucial that these legal constraints are identified early on.

Any Schedule 9 plant material, or soil containing root or rhizome fragments, may be classified as ‘controlled waste’ under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA). In addition to a criminal prosecution under the Wildlife & Countryside Act, infringement of the EPA can result in an unlimited fine. You may also be held liable for costs incurred from the spread into adjacent properties and for disposal of contaminated soil off site during development, which later leads to the spread on another site.

At Hampshire Ecological Services, we employ expert botanists who identify these species through site survey and, if found, can offer specialist advice on preparing effective cost-effective control strategies, whether it be excavation, chemical treatment, or a combination of both techniques.

If you have a Japanese Knotweed or related issue, or just need a survey, we would be pleased to help you at the least possible expense. Contact us to discuss your issue.

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