If you have discovered Knotweed on your premises, you might be wondering who is liable. Current Japanese Knotweed legislation is very clear on this.
Japanese Knotweed Legal Requirements
It is illegal for a landowner to allow Knotweed to spread from their premises to a neighbouring property. This means that if Knotweed has spread to your property from a neighbour’s land, it is their responsibility.
The TA6 Form (Seller’s Property Information Form) must be completed when selling a residential property. The seller is asked, “is the property affected by Japanese Knotweed?” – either answering, yes/no or not known. Legal implications, of course, could come in effect if misleading information is provided.
Property surveyors must notify buyers of any Japanese Knotweed damage or signs of Knotweed growth when carrying out their surveys. If your property surveyor failed to notify you of this, they are at fault.
In these cases, it might be possible for you to make a legal claim against damage caused and other damages, such as a decrease in your property’s value as a result of the presence of Knotweed.
Specific Japanese Knotweed Legislation
Japanese Knotweed is covered under the following laws. Dealing with the plant professionally will ensure the lawful disposal of it from your property.
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
It is illegal to plant or otherwise cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the wild in the UK.
Wildlife Order (Northern Ireland) 1985
It is illegal to plant or otherwise cause Japanese Knotweed to grow in the wild in Northern Ireland.
Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
Local councils and the police have the power to issue Community Protection Notices against “individuals who are acting unreasonably and who persistently or continually act in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality” including for invasive non-native species like Japanese Knotweed. A notice could require an individual or organisation to make reasonable effects to make good the problems arising as a result of Japanese Knotweed within a specific period of time and/or a requirement to take reasonable steps to prevent future occurrence of the problem. Breach of any requirement of a Community Protection Notice, without reasonable excuse, would be a criminal offence.
Community Protection Noticed
Although this does not refer specifically to particular plants, the protection notice can be used against individuals who act unreasonably, or who continue to act in a way which impacts upon local residents.
Environmental Protection Act 1990
Under Sections 33 and 34, If taken away from the site of origin, Japanese Knotweed and associated material, e.g. soil, becomes Controlled Waste and must be disposed of at a landfill site that is authorised to accept it. Japanese Knotweed waste that is disposed of at a landfill site must be accompanied by appropriate waste transfer documentation.
Town and Country Planning Act 1990
Section 215 of the England and Wales Act;Although this Act does not make specific reference to specific weeds, they provide local authorities with power to serve notices on owners or occupiers of land to control weeds that may be harming the amenity of the surrounding area and if the owners and occupiers fail to remedy the situation, they may be liable to a fine or have to repay the costs of action taken by the local authority to control the weeds.
Town and Country Planning Act (Scotland) 1992
Section 63 of the Scottish Act;Although this Act does not make specific reference to specific weeds, they provide local authorities with power to serve notices on owners or occupiers of land to control weeds that may be harming the amenity of the surrounding area and if the owners and occupiers fail to remedy the situation, they may be liable to a fine or have to repay the costs of action taken by the local authority to control the weeds.
There is provision within Common Law to take civil action against neighbouring landowners where the spread of Japanese Knotweed is considered to be a private or public nuisance.
Japanese Knotweed Claims
Specialist Japanese Knotweed solicitors are the best way to make an effective claim against a neighbour or property surveyor. With extensive knowledge of Knotweed legislation and experience handling claims similar to yours, they are expertly placed to tackle your case. For this reason, we have partnered with a number of Solicitor firms, who provide a UK-wide operation in relation to nuisance claims caused by Japanese Knotweed and property diminution claims.
Their specialist Japanese Knotweed Claims solicitors are on hand to help you recover losses due to Knotweed-related damages.
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