Guidance

Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and other invasive plants

Find details of your legal responsibility for dealing with invasive plants and how to remove and dispose of them.

Introduction

There are several hundred invasive plants in the UK. Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam are invasive plants that your business might come into contact with.

You must not plant invasive plants intentionally and if you have invasive plants on your property you must not allow them to spread off site.

Invasive non-native plants can cause problems for native UK species and reduce biodiversity (the variety of living organisms). Invasive non-native species are now widely recognised as the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide. Japanese knotweed can block footpaths and damage concrete, tarmac, flood defences and the stability of river banks. Giant hogweed can cause harm to human health.

Injurious weeds are native species, which cause problems for farming. They are harmful to livestock and must not be allowed to spread to agricultural land.

This guide describes how to identify and control invasive plants using methods such as spraying, digging up, cutting and burning. You will find details of your legal responsibility for dealing with invasive plants and how to remove and dispose of them.

Invasive non-native plants are species which have been brought into the UK that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. Injurious weeds are native species, which have been deemed to cause a problem to farming productivity.

If you have invasive plants or injurious weeds on your premises you have a responsibility to prevent them spreading into the wild or causing a nuisance.

You must not plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild any plant listed on schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Guidance on section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (PDF, 153K).

Invasive plants

If you have invasive plants on land that you own or occupy, you must comply with specific legal responsibilities, including:

You do not need to notify anyone about the invasive plants on your land. However, you should report certain non-native species on the Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) website.

Non-native Species Information Portal.

You are not obliged to remove or treat invasive plants, but you must not:

  • allow invasive plants to spread onto adjacent land - the owner of that land could take legal action against you
  • plant or encourage the spread of invasive plants outside of your property - this can include moving contaminated soil from one place to another or incorrectly handling and transporting contaminated material and plant cuttings

If you are a farmer and receiving the Single Farm Payment, you must not allow an infestation of an invasive non-native species on your land.

Injurious weeds

Injurious weeds are those that are considered able to cause harm to agricultural pasture. The five species of ‘injurious weed’ are:

  • common ragwort
  • spear thistle
  • creeping or field thistle
  • curled dock
  • broadleaved dock

If you have any injurious species on your land, you are responsible for controlling them. You must prevent them from spreading onto adjoining land. You could be served with an enforcement notice to make sure you do this and fined if you don’t comply. Find details Wild plants: dangerous, invasive and protected species.

Identifying invasive plants

It is important that you can identify invasive plants on your premises. This will allow you to manage and deal with them in the most appropriate way.

Identifying invasive plants on a site early lets developers assess and cost options for destroying, disposing of and managing them.

Managing land infested by invasive plants in a timely and appropriate way can avoid:

  • excessive cost
  • potential prosecution and compensation claims
  • physical damage to buildings and hard surfaces
  • harm to the environment

Identifying Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed begins to grow in early spring and can grow in any type of soil, no matter how poor. It can grow as much as 20 centimetres per day, and can reach a height of 1.5 metres by May and 3 metres by June. It does not produce viable seeds in the UK, but instead spreads through rhizome (underground root-like stem) fragments and cut stems. Japanese knotweed:

  • produces fleshy red tinged shoots when it first breaks through the ground
  • has large, heart or spade-shaped green leaves
  • has leaves arranged in a zig-zag pattern along the stem
  • has a hollow stem, like bamboo
  • can form dense clumps that can be several metres deep
  • produces clusters of cream flowers towards the end of July
  • dies back between September and November, leaving brown stems

Download the Japanese knotweed code of practice from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 2.06MB).

Identifying giant hogweed

You should take great care when identifying giant hogweed. Contact with the plant, particularly the sap, can lead to severe blistering and scarring.

Giant hogweed closely resembles native cow parsley or hogweed. It can take four years to reach its full height of 3-5 metres and flower. Giant hogweed:

  • has a reddish purple stem with fine spines that make it appear furry - like a stinging nettle
  • has hollow stems
  • has spotted leaf stalks
  • has leaves up to 1.5 metres wide
  • flowers in June and July
  • has flower heads that are usually 50 centimetres wide - each flower head is capable of producing 50,000 seeds every year
  • has seeds that can stay in the soil for several years before they develop

Identifying Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam is often found on river banks, growing up to 2 metres in height. Each plant lasts for one year and dies at the end of the growing season. Himalayan balsam:

  • has reddish coloured stems
  • has dark green, lance-shaped leaves with jagged edges
  • flowers from June to October
  • has large, brightly coloured flowers that are usually in variable shades from purple to pale pink
  • can produce around 2,500 seeds per plant each year
  • has explosive seed pods that can throw seeds over 6 metres away from the plant

Identifying other invasive plants

Other species of invasive plants in the UK include:

  • floating pennywort
  • parrot’s feather
  • creeping water primrose
  • New Zealand pigmyweed (also known as Australian swamp stonecrop)
  • curly waterweed
  • nuttall’s waterweed
  • Canadian pondweed
  • water fern (also known as fairy fern)

To find out how to identify some of these invasive weeds, download guidance on managing invasive non-native plants from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 581K).

Find identification sheets on invasive non-native species on the Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) website.

How invasive plants spread

To remove invasive plants from your premises or to stop them from spreading, it helps to understand how new plants grow and spread. This will help you decide what action to take.

If you employ a contractor to do the work for you, you should understand what they intend to do and why. This could help you decide what you actually need and could save you money.

How Japanese knotweed spreads

Japanese knotweed does not spread from seeds in the UK. It is spread when small pieces of the plant or rhizomes (underground root-like stems) are broken off. One piece of rhizome or plant the size of a fingernail can produce a new plant.

Pieces of plant or rhizome can be transported to a new location by:

  • water - if the parent plant is close to a river or stream
  • moving soil which contains them
  • fly-tipping cut or pulled stems

Individual plants can cover several square metres of land, joined up below ground by an extensive rhizome network. Herbicide treatment can be a very effective way of controlling Japanese knotweed, but a lack of regrowth does not mean the underground rhizome is dead. If the soil is disturbed, knotweed often regrows.

How giant hogweed spreads

Giant hogweed produces large, umbrella-like flowers, each of which can produce up to 50,000 seeds. These seeds fall typically within 4 metres of the parent plant. Seeds can be transported by:

  • vehicles - particularly along roads and railways
  • water - if the parent plant is close to a river or stream
  • footwear
  • moving soil which contains them

The seeds can remain dormant in the soil for 15 years. Even if you treat the plants with herbicides and they die, several thousand seeds are waiting in the ground below for the opportunity to take their place. Any control programme needs to continue for several years, including checks for new growth. When managing giant hogweed it is important to maintain a healthy grass sward, either by using selective herbicides or by sowing grass mixes. A dense grass sward helps to prevent giant hogweed seeds from germinating.

Giant hogweed contains sap that is released when the plant is cut or by brushing against the plant. Contact with the sap causes skin to become sensitive to sunlight, resulting in painful blisters which appear up to two days after contact and may reoccur for several years.

How Himalayan balsam spreads

Himalayan balsam plants can produce around 2,500 seeds each year. The seedpods open in such a way that the seeds are thrown up to 7 metres away from the parent plant, helping the species to quickly spread. Seeds can also be transported by:

  • water - if the parent plant is close to a river or stream
  • tracked vehicles
  • footwear
  • moving soil which contains them

Even if you remove these plants, or treat them with herbicides and they die, several hundred seeds can be waiting in the ground below for the opportunity to take their place. The seeds can survive for several years, so any control programme needs to continue for a couple of years, including checks for new growth.

Handling and working with invasive plants

If you do not manage invasive plants correctly, they will spread over time and they could cause damage to structures, such as building foundations.

If you have invasive plants on your site you should put up signs, where appropriate, to warn employees and the public about the invasive species that are present.

Put up posters in offices and communal areas to explain to employees what the problems are and what they need to do. Include pictures of the invasive plants you have on your site. This is particularly important for giant hogweed, as contact with sap from the plant can lead to skin burns.

Handling Japanese knotweed

Make sure your staff can identify Japanese knotweed rhizomes (underground root-like stems). This can reduce waste costs and improve how you manage Japanese knotweed on site.

You should minimise the amount of soil containing Japanese knotweed material that you excavate. Soil containing Japanese knotweed material that has been treated can be reused for landscaping the site, but should not be taken off site, unless to landfill.

You have a choice of herbicides that are effective against Japanese knotweed, depending on your situation. See the page in this guide on spraying invasive plants with herbicides.

On development sites you should fence Japanese knotweed where possible, using clear signs so that only appropriately briefed personnel enter the enclosure to deal with the infestation and resulting waste. This includes areas with waste plant material or soil contaminated with Japanese knotweed. The fence should be at least 7 metres away from the plants. Put up restricted access signs around these fenced areas (poster available in Appendix VII of the Japanese knotweed code of practice). You must not use tracked vehicles within the affected area, and make sure any vehicles leaving the area are pressure washed. Download the Japanese knotweed code of practice from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 2.06MB).

You must never strim areas containing Japanese knotweed. If you are going to clear areas where Japanese knotweed is present, make sure you remove all cut stems. See the page in this guide on disposing of invasive plants and contaminated soil off site.

Do not try to compost Japanese knotweed material - it will produce new plants. You must not put cut plant material directly onto the ground. If you must stockpile cut material, make sure it does not come into contact with soil - for example, by placing it on top of a barrier membrane. See the page in this guide on cutting and burning invasive plants.

Keep soil containing Japanese knotweed material separate from clean soil. This will reduce the volume of soil that you need to treat and dispose of.

Handling giant hogweed

When giant hogweed sap comes into contact with skin, it reacts with sunlight and causes chemical skin burns. Giant hogweed sap becomes more toxic as the year progresses and the plant is exposed to more sunlight.

The stem and underside of the leaves have hairs like a stinging nettle. Brushing against giant hogweed can be enough to get sap on your skin.

If you have giant hogweed on your premises, you must ensure that the public and your employees are protected from the hazards of its toxic sap.

You should control giant hogweed before it seeds. You must not use a strimmer on giant hogweed. The sap from the plant may get onto your skin or into your eyes.

If you are going to get close to or handle giant hogweed, you should wear full protective clothing with gloves, a hood and a full-face visor. You should wash down your protective clothing before you take it off.

If you get sap on your skin, cover it to keep it out of the sun. Go indoors immediately and wash the sap off your skin with soap and lots of water.

Spraying invasive plants with herbicide

Treating invasive plants with herbicide can be a very effective method of treatment. You will have to respray. It usually takes at least three years to treat Japanese knotweed until it is dormant. Giant hogweed seeds can continue germinating for 15 years after the last seed fall.

If the plant is in or near to water you must have agreement from the Environment Agency to use the herbicide. The herbicide must be approved for use in or near water.

The herbicide’s effectiveness depends on the type used. An advisor certified by BASIS (the registration, standards and certification scheme for pesticides and fertilisers) will be able to advise you on the most suitable type of herbicide for your situation and when best to apply it. You can also find management examples and information on the Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) website.

Find information on pesticide and fertiliser registration, standards and certification on the BASIS website.

Giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam both drop large quantities of seeds. A control programme will need to continue for several years, with checks carried out throughout the growing season. If you are trying to eradicate these plants from a riverbank it is important to ensure that any plants upstream are also treated to avoid seeds being washed onto the site.

Japanese knotweed has a large underground network of rhizomes (underground root-like stems). To eradicate the plant you must kill the rhizomes. Picking the right herbicide is essential, as it must travel through the plant and into the rhizome system below. Several herbicides can treat Japanese knotweed successfully - you will need to pick the right herbicide for your situation. Glyphosate is effective because it penetrates through the whole plant.

Using herbicides

The person doing the spraying must hold a certificate of technical competence for herbicide use or work under the direct supervision of a certificate holder. If you plan to spray in or near water, the person carrying out or supervising the spraying must have the appropriate aquatic part of the qualification. The sprayer must also comply with the pesticide product label and meet all of its conditions. Before you spray in or near water you must check that the product is approved for use near water. There are formulations of glyphosate and 2.4-D amine that can be used in or near water and are effective against many invasive plants.

You can get a certificate of technical competence by attending a short course at an agricultural college or similar institution.

For herbicide to be effective, make sure you use it at the correct time of year:

  • Japanese knotweed is best sprayed in late summer from flowering onwards.
  • Giant hogweed should be sprayed in April or May, before the plants flower.
  • Himalayan balsam should be sprayed in spring before flowering, but strimming or hand pulling should be your preferred option for control of this plant.

You must follow the guidance in the statutory code of practice for plant protection products. If you follow its advice you should stay within the law.

Read the code of practice for plant protection products on the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) Chemicals Regulation Directorate website.

If the invasive plants are near a watercourse, you should not use herbicides as the first option. If you are planning to use herbicide in or near to a watercourse, you must complete herbicide form AqHerb01 and send it to the Environment Agency.

Download form AqHerb01 - agreement to use herbicides in or near water from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 499K). Download guidance notes for form AqHerb01 from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 326K).

You must also carry out a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessment for any activities that involve herbicides. Read about COSHH on the HSE website.

Dispose of waste herbicides correctly

You must make sure that all your waste is stored, transported and disposed of safely. Waste herbicides are likely to be classed as hazardous waste. You must keep this separate from other waste.

Herbicide containers must either be rinsed or handled as herbicides. Check product labels to see if your waste containers should be rinsed. Water used for rinsing empty containers is classed as dilute pesticides or biocides. You may need an environmental permit, registered waste exemption or trade effluent consent to dispose of this.

See our guide on pesticides and biocides - your environmental responsibilities.

Digging up invasive plants

Clearing the leaves and stems of Japanese knotweed or giant hogweed that are above ground and then removing soil contaminated with roots, rhizomes (underground root-like stems) and seeds can provide faster results than just spraying with herbicide.

Try to minimise the amount of waste you generate that contains invasive plants, or their seeds and rhizomes. Any waste you do produce should be treated on site where possible.

Any waste that is taken off site must be taken by a licensed waste carrier and must go to a suitably authorised landfill site.

If you intend to bury invasive plant waste on your property you must contact the Environment Agency to check you are allowed to do this at your location. See the page in this guide on burying invasive plant material on site.

You should not remove soil from river banks, as this can cause water pollution. If you are planning to carry out work near a river you should contact the Environment Agency.

If your site floods, the seeds will be spread further across the site, so you will need to manage a larger area.

Digging up giant hogweed

To clear ground contaminated with giant hogweed, you may need to remove soil up to 4 metres away from the plants and to a depth of 0.5 metres. You will need to check for regrowth regularly. You should spray regrowth with the herbicide glyphosate before the plants flower.

Digging up Japanese knotweed

The rhizome system beneath a stand of Japanese knotweed can be over 4 metres deep and could extend for at least 7 metres around the stand. If you are going to dig out the rhizome system you will need to remove all of the plant material. You should use the rhizome identification guide in the knotweed code of practice, or ask a specialist, to help you identify the plant material. Download the Japanese knotweed code of practice from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 2.06MB).

You will need to check any cleared areas regularly for regrowth. You can spray any regrowth with herbicide.

Digging up Himalayan balsam

To clear ground contaminated with Himalayan balsam, you may need to remove soil up to 6 metres from the parent plant and to a depth of 0.5 metres. You should not remove soil while the seed pods are present. You will need to check for regrowth regularly. You should pull by hand or strim regrowth before the plants flower.

However, as seeds remain viable in the soil for several years, annual cutting, mowing or grazing or annual herbicide treatment during the spring growing season can be an effective control for this plant. You must also carry out follow up checks for late germinating seeds.

What you must do when digging up invasive plants

Never stockpile contaminated soil or plant material within 10 metres of a watercourse, and it should not be stockpiled within 7 metres of your site boundary.

Collect any water you use for cleaning vehicles that are used in contaminated areas. If it is contaminated with seeds or plant material, you must not discharge it to a watercourse. You could treat the water by passing it through a settlement tank to remove any soil before passing it through a very fine mesh sieve to remove seeds or plant material. Settlement alone may not be adequate because seeds and plant material float. Download Pollution prevention guideline: Vehicle washing and cleaning (PPG13) from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 176K).

You may be able to deposit material sieved from water used for vehicle washing in a controlled area on your land and monitor it for regrowth. You should speak to the Environment Agency to determine your best option. Find Environment Agency contact details on the Environment Agency website.

See our guides on Water pollution from farming: preventing and minimising and discharging trade effluent.

Good practice for digging up invasive plants

You should clearly mark out any areas of your land that contain invasive plants. Fence them off until you intend to clear them. Put the fence at least 7 metres away from the plants to contain any contaminated soil or roots.

When you clear contaminated areas, take care to ensure contaminated soil, seeds and plant material are not spread to unaffected areas.

Limit the use of tracked machinery where possible. Seeds and plant material can get caught in the tracks and moved around the area.

If you are developing your land, consider creating a haul road using a strong geotextile overlain with hardcore as a base for vehicles to travel on.

Cover all lorries, dumpers or haulage vehicles carrying contaminated soil or plant material.

Thoroughly clean tracked machinery when it leaves contaminated areas of the site. Do this within a designated area that is as close as possible to the contaminated area on which the machinery has been working. Always carry out a visual inspection of wheel arches and tracks before the vehicle leaves the site.

Look out for regrowth by roads and areas where vehicles have been parked or cleaned. Spray any regrowth with herbicide if required.

If you are working between November and March in an area where invasive plants are known to be present, look for dead canes from the previous year to identify infected areas. Even if there is no growth evident above ground, seeds from giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam, and Japanese knotweed rhizome will still be present. Try to inspect a development site for evidence of invasive species before it is cleared.

Cutting and burning invasive plants

Cutting down or digging up invasive plants and burning the waste plant material can be a useful, low-tech means of control. It can reduce the volume of waste that you need to dispose of off site.

Cutting invasive plants

Cutting Japanese knotweed will, over time, weaken the plant, but it will not kill the rhizomes (underground root-like stems). It can be used as part of other control practices. You must handle and dispose of cut plant material carefully. Burning alone may not be sufficient to kill the plant material. You should place burnt material on top of a membrane and monitor it for regrowth. You must not use a strimmer on Japanese knotweed.

Cutting giant hogweed before the plants flower will help to prevent further seeds being deposited on the ground. This is an effective way of removing these species but it can take many years. You must not use a strimmer on giant hogweed. You must avoid contact with giant hogweed, particularly its sap, as it can cause chemical skin burns. You should wear full protective clothing when working near it or handling it.

Pulling up Himalayan balsam before the plants flower is the most effective method of control. Do not cut the plants before they flower as this can result in a more bushy plant that produces more flowers. The best time to cut is late May. Cut the plant below the first nodule.

Burning invasive plants

Burning waste materials is a type of waste disposal. If you burn waste in the open you may require an environmental permit or registered waste exemption.

If you had a waste exemption registered before 6 April 2010, you may need to register a new exemption from environmental permitting or apply for an environmental permit. Download an exemption and permit timetable from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 62K).

You may qualify for a D7 exemption to burn certain waste plant tissue and untreated wood if you:

  • burn the waste at the place where it was produced
  • burn no more than 10 tonnes in a 24-hour period

If you have an exemption, you must comply with the exemption conditions and register this exemption with the Environment Agency.

You must also ensure that your activity does not:

  • endanger human health or cause pollution to water, air or soil
  • constitute a risk to plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance, eg in terms of noise or odour
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest

Find guidance on the waste exemption for burning waste in the open on the Environment Agency website.

You must notify the Environment Agency at least a week before you intend burning plant material. You should also notify your local authority environmental health officer before you begin burning plant material.

If you burn waste in an incinerator or other similar plant, you may need an environmental permit. See our guide on Non-hazardous waste: treatment and disposal.

Good practice

Burning plant material should only give rise to white smoke.

Tell the local fire brigade before you begin burning and again when you finish, so that they are not called out unnecessarily.

You can leave cut stems to dry out in the sun rather than burning them. Make sure you place cut Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam material on a membrane and not in direct contact with the ground.

Giant hogweed sap remains toxic after the plant has been cut down. Do not leave cut stems where they could harm people or livestock.

Burying invasive plant material on site

Taking plant material and soil containing plant material away for disposal off site uses valuable landfill capacity and increases the likelihood of the spread of invasive plants. Another option is to bury this soil and plant material on your own land because, without sunlight, plants cannot survive and seeds will not germinate.

However, this material will need to remain buried for several years to ensure that it will not grow again. Giant hogweed seeds can be viable for up to 15 years and Japanese knotweed rhizome (underground root-like stems) is believed to survive for 20 years.

What you must do

Before you bury invasive plant waste on your property you must contact the Environment Agency to check you are allowed to do this at your location. The Environment Agency may want to look at your site and may visit while the works are undertaken.

Soil and plant material containing Japanese knotweed may need to be buried 5 metres below ground level. You should place a barrier membrane on top of the material and fill the hole with clean soil. Alternatively, the knotweed code of practice describes how you can bury it less deeply. Download the Japanese knotweed code of practice from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 2.06MB).

Soil containing Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed seeds should be buried at least 1 metre below ground level.

You must not bury anything other than plant material and soil containing invasive plants that have originated on site.

You must make sure that deep burial does not interfere with the ground water level.

Buried soil and plant material that have been treated with a herbicide that does not break down in the environment could cause groundwater pollution. If you intend to bury treated material, you should treat it with glyphosate herbicide only. Check with the Environment Agency.

Herbicides that do not break down in the environment are described as persistent. Those that do break down are described as biodegradable or non-persistent. The herbicide packaging or safety data sheet will state whether it is persistent or non-persistent.

Soil contaminated with some persistent herbicides will be classed as hazardous and so will need to be disposed of as hazardous waste. See our guide on Hazardous farm waste: treatment and disposal.

You must follow the guidelines for spraying plants with herbicide and digging up plants. See the pages in this guide on spraying invasive plants with herbicide and digging up invasive plants.

Good practice

You should bury the material in an area where it is not likely to be disturbed. You should keep records of the quantity of material that you have buried and a map showing the location of the burial pit and its depth. Use signs to mark the burial pit and keep heavy tracked machinery off the area.

You should not bury materials deeply within 7 metres of an adjacent landowner’s site.

Disposing of invasive plants and contaminated soil off site

You should try to minimise the amount of waste you generate that contains invasive plants or their seeds, roots and rhizomes (underground root-like stems). Any waste you do produce should be treated on site where possible.

Any waste taken off site must be taken by a licensed waste carrier and go to a suitably authorised landfill site.

What you must do

When you transport invasive plants and soil contaminated with invasive plants, make sure that the vehicle is covered or sheeted so that seeds and plant material cannot blow away. If you allow contaminated soil or plant material to escape, you could be prosecuted and fined.

You must have waste transfer notes (WTNs) for any material leaving your site. You must list any material that contains invasive plants or their seeds on the WTN. Your waste carrier can only take the waste containing invasive weeds to sites authorised to accept it. Plant material, or soil containing plant material or seeds, is likely to be classed as non-hazardous waste - this is a different category from inert waste.

There is a duty of care for waste that affects all businesses. You must make sure that:

  • your waste is stored, handled, recycled or disposed of safely and legally by licensed individuals or businesses
  • you record all transfers of waste between your business and another business - using a WTN
  • you keep all WTNs, signed by both businesses, for at least two years
  • you record any transfer of hazardous waste between your business and another business using a consignment note
  • you keep all consignment notes, signed by both businesses, for at least three years

You must take waste plant material or contaminated soil to a site that has an environmental permit.

The conditions of the permit must allow the disposal of invasive plants at the site. You should check with the waste site in advance to make sure they can accept material containing invasive plants.

The waste site may need notice so that an area can be prepared. For example, a landfill site will need an area away from the landfill liner for material containing invasive plants.

Tax relief for disposing of soil containing Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed are considered to be pollutants and used to have a landfill tax exemption from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You can no longer apply for a new exemption, but existing exemptions may be valid until 31 March 2012. Read about landfill tax on the HMRC website.

Land remediation relief (LRR) is a corporation tax relief scheme introduced to help bring land that has been ruined by various industrial uses or long-term neglect back into productive use. You may be able to claim LRR for removing contamination arising from Japanese knotweed. You will not be able to claim LRR if disposing of material containing Japanese knotweed to landfill. Find guidance on land remediation relief on the HMRC website.

Invasive plants environmental legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of environmental legislation relating to invasive weeds. The websites hosting the legislation may list amendments separately.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business.

For more information about EMS, see our guide on environmental management systems (EMS) - the basics.

You may also need to know about and comply with legislation on:

Find other current environmental legislation that may affect your business on the NetRegs website.

Find guidance about future environmental legislation on the NetRegs website.

Further information

Environment Agency Helpline

03708 506 506

Natural England Enquiry Service

0845 600 3078

Non-native invasive weed species information on the Non-native Species Secretariat website

Invasive weed species information on the Environment Agency website

Download managing invasive non-native plants guidance from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 581K)

Ragwort and injurious weeds information on the Defra website

Be Plant Wise campaign information on the NNSS website

Japanese knotweed information on the Environment Agency website

Pesticide and fertiliser registration, standards and certification information on the BASIS website

Plant protection products code of practice on the HSE Chemicals Regulation Directorate website

COSHH regulations guidance on the HSE website

Download agreement to use herbicides in or near water (form AqHerb01) from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 499K)

Download form AqHerb01 guidance notes from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 326K)

Download a waste exemption transitional timetable from the Environment Agency website (PDF, 62K)

Landfill tax guidance on the HMRC website

LRR information on the HMRC website

Current environmental legislation lists on the NetRegs website

Future environmental legislation guidance on the NetRegs website

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