New Japanese Knotweed Code of Practice Launched

The UK trade body dedicated to the UK Invasive species industry INNSA (Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association) has launched the new Code of Practice for Managing Japanese Knotweed.

The new Code of Practice replaces the third edition of the Environment Agency document “Managing Japanese Knotweed on development sites” also known as “the knotweed code of practice”, which was withdrawn in 2016 and passed to INNSA for on-going management and updates. Claimed to be the most downloaded document in the history of the Environment Agency, the new Code of Practice represents the highest shared standards of best practice within the industry, written, enhanced and refined by the Association’s senior representatives.

The Code provides a clear understanding of what is required and recommended when dealing with Japanese knotweed remediation works.

The Chairman of INNSA, James Sherwood Rogers states “Expected to be a go-to document for all developers, planners and contractors who may encounter Japanese knotweed in the course of their work, the new Code of Practice will provide a clear understanding of what is required and recommended when managing infested land in an appropriate way.”

The Invasive Non-Native Specialists Association (INNSA) is a not-for-profit industry body for companies involved in controlling and eradicating invasive non-native species in the UK. INNSA aims to improve standards within the industry through providing advice, services and support to its members and influencing the EU and UK policy agenda and guidance on non-native invasive species.   

The invasive and resilient nature of Japanese knotweed means that it has the capacity to cause extensive damage to properties, road verges, rail infrastructure, flood defences, retaining walls and external works. With it now incumbent on any property valuation surveyor to identify and report any Japanese knotweed on the inspected or adjacent properties, the possibility of claims being made is increasing. 

The potential for claims was brought in to sharp focus during a landmark court case earlier this year in South Wales. Network Rail was forced to pay compensation to residents after they claimed the encroachment of Japanese knotweed from the Government body’s adjacent land had damaged their homes and in turn reduced their value. If Japanese knotweed is found then lenders can insist on further specialist inspection and, dependent on the level of contamination, it should either be subjected to a treatment programme with a suitable insurance policy protecting the customer against future infestation.  Japanese knotweed presents continual challenges for local authorities, planners, architects, developers, contractors, consultants and housing associations.  Its handling, management and disposal alone is covered by 10 pieces of legislation including the Control of Pesticides Regulations 1986, The Environmental Protection Act 1990, Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005, The Infrastructure Act 2015 and even the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

For any organisation currently concerned about Japanese knotweed, INNSA’s new Code of Practice provides an excellent starting point to understand the issues surrounding the management of Japanese knotweed and the remedial actions required.

More information about INNSA’s ‘Code of Practice – Managing Japanese Knotweed’ and how to obtain a copy can be found at www.innsa.org.

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