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Harmful weeds and non native plants

All landowners, the council included,  have a responsibility to make sure harmful weeds and non native plants with the potential to harm people, livestock or the environment do not spread to a neighbouring property and are treated correctly.

The most common invasive, non native plants include

  • Japanese knotweed
  • Giant hogweed
  • Himalayan balsam
  • Rhododendron ponticum
  • New Zealand pigmyweed (this is banned from sale)

How to identify, control and dispose of plants that can harm people, livestock and the environment.

Correct identification is important so you can control the plants in the most effective way.

Visit nonnativespecies.org for help identifying plants 

Japanese knotweed

You don't have to remove Japanese knotweed from your land, but you could be prosecuted or given a community protection notice for causing a nuisance if you allow it to spread onto anyone else's property.

Japanese Knotweed is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981with respect to England, Wales and Scotland. As such it is an offence to plant of otherwise cause Japanese knotweed to grow in the wild. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, Japanese Knotweed is classified as controlled waste.

For more information read the  Japanese knotweed identification sheet [4MB]

Visit Gov.uk for advice on treating and disposing of Japanese knotweed

Giant hogweed

Contact with any part of this plant must be avoided as even small amounts of sap can cause blistering of the skin following exposure to sunlight.

Giant hogweed is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to England, Wales and Scotland. As such it is an offence to plant or otherwise cause this species to grow in the wild. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, giant hogweed is also classified as controlled waste.

For more information read the  Giant hogweed identification sheet [6MB]

Himalyan balsam

Himalayan balsam is listed under Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 with respect to England and Wales. As such, it is an offence to plant or otherwise allow this species to grow in the wild. 

For more information read the  Himalayan balsam identification sheet [4MB]

Plants that need control

You must do both of the following to control specific plants

  • prevent invasive non native plants on your land from spreading into the wild and causing a nuisance
  • prevent harmful weeds on your land from spreading on to a neighbour's property

Visit Gov.uk for more information on preventing the spread of harmful, invasive and non native plants

You could be fined up to £5,000 or be sent to prison for up to 2 years if you allow contaminated soil or plant material from any waste you transfer to spread into the wild.

Home Office community protection notices for Japanese knotweed and other invasive non native plants [184KB]

Report it

If the plants are found on council land please report it immediately to our coutryside team.

If you know the plants are growing near a property or on some land but is unchecked or managed please report it to our community officer.

If the plants are growing in the wild please report it to DEFRA.

Natural England Enquiries Team
Technical Services Natural England
County Hall, Spetchley Road
WORCESTER
WR5 2NP

Email: weedenquiries@naturalengland.org.uk

Telephone: 0300 060 3900

Visit Gov.uk for more information on preventing the spread of harmful, invasive and non native plants