Japanese Knotweed: Weed Control

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 19 October 2023.

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Photo of Julian Knight Julian Knight Independent, Solihull

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to tackle Japanese knotweed.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government recognises the threats posed by invasive species, including Japanese knotweed, and has a comprehensive Great Britain Non-native Species Strategy designed to co-ordinate action to tackle these threats.  Defra funds biocontrol research to tackle Japanese knotweed. It is hoped that this will provide a cost and time effective way of managing this species. This research has identified the psyllid Aphalari itadori, (a sap-sucking insect), as a biological control agent for tackling Japanese Knotweed. Information about the research can be found on the Japanese Knotweed Alliance website.

Local Action Groups, with support from Government, are actively involved in reducing and eradicating Japanese knotweed.

Japanese knotweed is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to allow the plant to escape or cause it to grow in the wild. The Government has developed guidance on how to prevent the spread of Japanese knotweed and other harmful weeds, as well as how to treat and dispose of them, which can be found on GOV.UK:

How to stop invasive non-native plants from spreading - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Government also run awareness raising campaigns such as ‘Be Plant Wise’ and Invasive Species Week, as well as providing species information and online training materials on biosecurity on the GB NNSS website.

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