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Japanese knotweed

Japanese knotweed is an invasive plant which causes a nuisance to property and landowners. It has a reputation for taking over and damaging gardens, agricultural land, parks and wildlife sites.

What does it look like?

  • Green shovel shaped leaves growing from zig-zag shaped branches.
  • Stems are bamboo like in appearance.
  • Produces white flowers around September or October.
  • Canes dry out during the winter. The plant may appear to be dead, but it isn’t.
Photo credit dry winter canes and typical leaf: Phlorum.

What damage can it do?

  • Damage buildings, hard surfaces and infrastructure, grow through concrete, tarmac and other hard surfaces, usually where weaknesses already exist.
  • Threaten native plants and animals by forming dense bushes that prevent other plants from growing.
  • Damage flood defence structures and reduce the capacity of channels to carry flood water.
  • Ruin gardens, making them impossible to enjoy.
  • Spread across boundaries and become the cause of neighbour disputes.

Who is responsible for controlling/removing it?

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 it forbids allowing Japanese knotweed to spread into the wild. It is the landowner’s responsibility to control and prevent Japanese knotweed from doing so.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, it states that it is illegal to move it from where it is growing unless this is carried out by a licensed operator and disposed of at a licensed landfill site.

You do not have to remove it from your land, but you could be prosecuted or given a community protection notice under the Crime and Policing Act 2014 for failure to control or prevent the growth of Japanese knotweed from causing serious problems to neighbours and the local community.

Enquiries and advice

We aim to eradicate Japanese knotweed within Leicester’s boundaries. To do this we need the cooperation of land and property owners within the city. We have the authority to control the nuisance caused to occupiers affected by Japanese knotweed growing on adjoining land, but our priority is to resolve issues in a cooperative and supportive way.

If you are a concerned land or property owner, you can get in touch with us for advice. We have a specialist Property Care Association (PCA) qualified team which can provide both advice and practical services.

Our advice service is free, but practical control/eradication works would be charged.

This service is also provided to people who own land outside of Leicester.

For general enquiries: Email our PCA Certified Surveyor at or ring 0116 454 4947.

For enforcement enquiries please email our team at