Harmful and invasive weeds

Owners and occupiers of land have a duty to prevent harmful weeds and invasive plants from spreading from their land on to other people’s land.

Some ‘harmful’ weeds, like Ragwort, can be bad for farm animals if eaten. There are some legal control on these under the Weeds Act 1959. Complaints about these sorts of harmful weeds can be made to Natural England.

Other plants, like Japanese Knotweed, are not harmful but can spread very quickly. These are known as ‘invasive’ weeds. The law is less clear about invasive weeds, but you mustn’t plant them and if they are on your land you shouldn’t be allowing them to spread onto someone else’s land.    

We can help with invasive weeds, but generally we would expect owners of land with invasive weeds to work together to solve the problem. We’ve produced our own short guide (pdf, 308kb) on Japanese Knotweed and the law.