News & Insights

New guidance on managing Japanese Knotweed

The Environment Agency has issued new guidelines for developers and landowners on managing this beguilingly pretty pest.  Michael Higgin from our commercial property team reports.

The Environment Agency (EA) has just published an updated version of its voluntary code of conduct for developers – “Managing Japanese Knotweed on development sites” – which revises the original 2006 code to reflect changes to the law on waste and environmental permits.  Japanese Knotweed is large and pretty and was originally imported by unwitting Victorian gardeners.  The reality is that it is an invasive and powerful weed which is fast growing and can break concrete.  It is very hard to eradicate and spreads all too easily as even a fragment of a root or shoot can spawn a new colony.

There are two new key technical points:  first, the herbicide Picloram should not be used in the inner zones of groundwater source protection zones (often referred to as SPZs); and secondly, soil screened for knotweed rhizomes (roots) must still be regarded as potentially containing them and so must not be reused off-site or sold for re-use.

Fly-tipping of contaminated soil by unscrupulous contractors is a big problem – tip-offs to the EA can be made on 0800 80 70 60.

The full guidance note can be found here.

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