The law

In many cases, invasive weeds are not affected by legal obligations. However, some non-native invasive plants have strict rules under which they must be managed.

The main law to be aware of is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which states ‘if any person plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild any plant which is included in Part II of schedule 9, he shall be guilty of an offence’. The legislation aims to ensure that weeds are not spread by careless planting or cross-contamination via infested soils. Anyone convicted of an offence under Section 14 of the WCA 1981 may face a fine of £5000 and/or 6 months imprisonment or 2 years and/or unlimited fine on indictment.

Any waste material generated from plants included in the Wildlife and Countryside Act will fall under the control of part 2 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Other legislation to be aware of are the Hazardous Waste Regulations 2005 (HWR 2005) and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994.

Please discuss individual cases with our team who will advise what legal obligations you have with regards to specific plants.