22 January, 2019
A Bristol property owner has been fined for allowing the spread of Japanese knotweed. It is reported that this is the first time the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has been used in this way.
In 2017, Bristol City Council served the property owner with a community protection notice following complaints from seven neighbours regarding the spread of Japanese knotweed. The company failed to respond and the matter proceeded to a prosecution hearing. After failing to attend either the hearing or the sentencing, the company was fined £18,000 plus costs and was ordered to remedy the Japanese knotweed problem within 28 days.
Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant, which can cause structural damage as well as crowding out of other native plants. Pursuant to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Councils and the police now have a mechanism to deal with property owners who refuse to deal with the issue of Japanese knotweed. Although the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 does not explicitly refer to Japanese knotweed or other, similar invasive non-native plants, the community protection notice can be used against individuals who are acting unreasonably and who persistently act in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.