Q&As

What obligations does an occupier of land have to a neighbour where Japanese knotweed has spread from their land to neighbouring land?

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Last updated on 03/02/2016

The following Environment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What obligations does an occupier of land have to a neighbour where Japanese knotweed has spread from their land to neighbouring land?
  • Private nuisance
  • Remedial action

What obligations does an occupier of land have to a neighbour where Japanese knotweed has spread from their land to neighbouring land?

An occupier of land could face liability for the spread of Japanese knotweed to neighbouring land in a number of ways, including:

  1. under section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981), which makes it an offence to plant or cause Japanese knotweed to grow

  2. under section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which imposes a duty of care on people dealing with controlled waste (Japanese knotweed), to take reasonable steps to keep that waste safe

  3. through a claim for private for private nuisance

For more information see our Practice Notes: Japanese knotweed—legal framework and Japanese knotweed—management, which also cover the amendments to the WCA 1981, added by the Infrastructure Act 2015, concerning Japanese knotweed and species control agreements and orders.

Private nuisance

This Q&A concerns the spread of Japanese knotweed to neighbouring land and so it involves a focus on private law/civil liability principles.

Allowing Japanese knotweed to spread to neighbouring land could constitute a private nuisance, which the neighbour may seek a remedy for. Our Practice Note: Private nuisance—general principles explains that private nuisance is concerned with the unlawful interference with

Related documents:
Key definition:
Duty of care definition
What does Duty of care mean?

A duty of care refers to the circumstances and relationships giving rise to an obligation upon a defendant to take proper care to avoid causing some form of foreseeable harm to the claimant in all the circumstances of the case in question.

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