Japanese Knotweed Management and Treatment
We have a particular interest in the area of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and in particular the uncontrolled spread of Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Himalayian Balsam. Japanese Knotweed can have a serious impact on the timing and delivery of property development projects. Planning permission becomes contingent on clean-up strategies. Clean-up strategies can be expensive depending on the degree of infestation.
The law is clear with regard to the intentional spread of Invasive Alien Plant Species – essentially, do not assist in their spread.
The secondary law setting out the dispersal of these IAS is set out below.
European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations, 2011 to 201
- ‘Save in accordance with a licence […], any person who plants, disperses, allows or causes to disperse, spreads or otherwise causes to grow’ scheduled plant species shall be guilty of an offence. Regulation 49(2) of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations, 2011.
Scheduled plant species include:
- giant knotweed (Fallopia sachalinensis);
- Himalayan knotweed (Persicaria wallichii); and,
- Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica).
Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations, 2011.
A person who commits such an offence is liable:
‘(a) on summary conviction, to a Class A fine [‘“class A fine” means a fine not exceeding €5,000’] or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both, or (b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €500,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.’
Regulation 67(2) of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations, 2011, as amended by Regulation 13 of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) (Amendment) Regulations, 2015. Section 3 of the Fines Act, 2010.
There is also the risk of being liable to a civil action under the Tort of Private Nuisance. Examples could include where you fail to control the spread of Japanese Knotweed into a neighbouring property. There is evidence in the UK of such claims while as yet no such claims have yet been recorded in Ireland.
How this affects you as a developer
More commonly we are seeing conditions attached to planning permissions seeking written confirmation from a suitably qualified person as to the presence of Invasive Alien Plant Species on the site and where such species are identified as being present a management plan needs to be prepared and agreed with the local authority before development commences
- Site assessment to identify the occurrence of Invasive Alien Plant Species
- Preparation of a Management Plan including preferred treatment options and biosecurity measures
- Contracting with licensed operators to effect the treatment strategy
- Follow-up assessment