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Japanese knotweed

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Japanese knotweed

Homeowners could be stung with fines of up to £2,500 if they allow invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed or giant hogweed to spread from their properties under anti-social behaviour legislation.

The Home Office has published a briefing document on the reform of anti-social behaviour powers, which normally control drunkenness, drug taking and objectionable conduct.

The legislation will target plants which can cause illness, threaten biodiversity or even damage property.

According to a Home Office briefing document: 'Japanese knotweed, for example can grow through tarmac and can cause structural damage to property, whilst giant hogweed can cause harm to human health.



Japanese knotweed - which has the scientific name fallopia japonica - was introduced into Britain by the Victorians. Incredibly invasive, it can grow four inches (ten centimetres) in a day from April to October and a tiny root can establish itself as a plant in just ten days.

Apparently solid structures such as tarmac and flooring in houses are no barrier to its growth and the weed also creates a risk of flooding if leaves clog waterways.

Knotweed is recognised by its shovel-shaped leaves, bamboo-like stem and white flowers produced in autumn.