Under provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, “Plant refers to species in the kingdom Planate.” Schedule 9 also sets forth specific Fungi and Algae species that are non-native and existing in the UK.
This “legislation aims to prevent the planting of Schedule 9 listed plant material in the wild where it then poses a threat to our native biodiversity and ecosystems.” Such is the case of a number of Japanese Knotweed species.
According to Schedule 9, the following species were added by variation 609;
• Japanese Knotweed – Fallopia japonica – Added by variation 609 in 2010.
• Giant Knotweed – Fallopia sachalinensis – Added by variation 609 in 2010.
• Hybrid Knotweed – Fallopia japonica x Fallopia sachalinensis – Added by variation 609 in 2010.
Under terms of this part, the planting of these non-native species is a crime and punishable by rather serious penalties including severe fines. The severity of this violation is best depicted by language in the section:
“We consider that planting in the wild would constitute intentionally placing viable plant material in or on suitable medium so that it can grow. This can include, for example, whole plants, seeds, rhizomes, bulbs, corms and cuttings.”
The law also makes clear how UK residents should manage these plants when they exist in their own confines. It is clear that the existence of these plants and especially strains of Japanese Knotweed is not only causing damage to the ecosystem but to the country’s infrastructure and building industry. Many public water and sewer pipes have been invaded by the plant’s extend and virile roots. Once inside a pipe of foundation, there is no stopping the spread of the species.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 states: “We would expect that where plants listed in Schedule 9 are grown in private gardens, larger scale gardens, estates and amenity areas, etc. reasonable measures will be taken to confine them to the cultivated areas so as to prevent their spreading to the wider environment and beyond the landowner’s control. It is our view that any failure to do so, which in turn results in the plant spreading to the wild, could be considered as ‘causing to grow in the wild’ and as such would constitute an offence.”