Learn Can you burn Japanese knotweed UK?

why burning Japanese knotweed is not recommended in the UK and the potential risks and the legal side

Burning Japanese knotweed is not a recommended method for controlling the plant in the UK. Also, burning Japanese knotweed can be illegal in the UK unless the correct permission is given for it.

There are many recommended methods for controlling or removing Japanese knotweed. These include digging up the roots, using herbicides, or covering the plant with mulch or plastic to suffocate it. These methods aim to target the roots/rhizomes, the most effective way to control the plant.

It’s always best to consult with an expert.

To determine the best course of action for controlling or removing Japanese knotweed. They will consider the size of the infestation, its location, surrounding environment, and applicable regulations. In any case, it’s essential to act quickly. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to control the plant. In the UK,

Professionals¬† need to apply for a permit from the Environment Agency to burn Japanese knotweed canes in the open. Open burning of waste, including Japanese knotweed, is regulated under the Environmental Permitting. (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. Also the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency’s Waste Management Licensing Regulations 2011.

However, Government regulations may vary depending on your location and the specifics of your situation.

Furthermore, you could consult with the Environment Agency or local authorities. This can help determine the necessary steps and requirements for burning Japanese knotweed canes in your area.

As a result, alternative disposal methods may be required, such as removal to a licensed landfill or on-site composting. It’s essential to follow proper waste management procedures to minimise harm to the environment and prevent the spread of Japanese knotweed.

Burning Japanese Knotweed in the UK

Have you ever encountered the twisting stems and broad leaves of Japanese Knotweed in your backyard and wondered how to get rid of it? You’re not alone. Many UK homeowners grapple with this invasive plant. One common solution? Burning it. But before you strike that match, you should know a few things.

Introduction to Japanese Knotweed

First, a quick introduction. Japanese Knotweed, scientifically named Fallopia japonica, is an invasive plant species known for its rapid growth and resilience. Originally from Japan, it went to the UK in the 19th century. Since then, it has become a massive problem for homeowners, environmentalists, and authorities alike.

Why Is Burning Japanese Knotweed a Concern?

There’s a reason why burning Japanese Knotweed is tightly regulated. Let’s dive deeper.

Environmental Impact

When burnt, Japanese Knotweed releases pollutants and can contribute to soil erosion. This can adversely affect the surrounding ecosystem, potentially harming native plants and wildlife.

Health Concerns

Smoke from burning plants can cause respiratory issues in people, especially those with asthma or other underlying conditions. It’s essential to be mindful of the health impacts of such actions.

Permits Required for Burning Japanese Knotweed

Before you set fire to that troublesome plant, ensure you have the proper permits. But which ones do you need?

Environmental Agency Permit

The UK’s Environment Agency (EA) requires a permit to burn waste, including plant material like Japanese knotweed. This ensures that burning is controlled and safe.

Local Council Permissions

Your local council may have additional regulations and permits regarding burning. Always check with them before proceeding.

Open Burning Regulations

There are strict regulations regarding open burning in the UK, especially in urban areas. Adhering to these rules is essential to avoid penalties.

Steps to Get the Required Permits

So, you’ve decided to go ahead with burning. How do you get these permits?

Contacting the Right Authorities

Start by contacting the Environment Agency and your local council. They’ll guide you through the process and provide the necessary forms.

Filling Out the Necessary Paperwork

This step might seem tedious, but it’s essential. Fill out all the paperwork honestly and provide any necessary documentation.

Ensuring Safe Burning Practices

Once you’ve obtained the permits, ensure you follow all safety guidelines. This will protect the environment, your health, and your property.

Alternatives to Burning Japanese Knotweed

Burning isn’t the only solution. There are other ways to tackle this invasive species.

Chemical Treatments

Specialised herbicides can be used to kill and control the growth of Japanese Knotweed. However, always consult an expert before using any chemical treatments.

Manual Removal

Physical removal is another option. Though labour-intensive, it can be effective when done correctly.


Dealing with Japanese Knotweed can be challenging. While burning might seem easy, it comes with challenges and responsibilities. Always ensure you have the necessary permits and know the environmental and health impacts. And if you’re in doubt, consider alternative methods or seek expert advice.


  1. Is Japanese Knotweed harmful to humans?
    • No, Japanese Knotweed isn’t harmful when touched. However, burning it can release harmful smoke.
  2. How long does it take for Japanese Knotweed to die after burning?
    • While burning can kill the visible parts, the rhizomes (roots) can survive and regrow.
  3. Can I sell my property if it has Japanese Knotweed?
    • Yes, but it may affect the property’s value. It’s advisable to tackle the infestation before selling.
  4. Do all areas in the UK require permits for burning Japanese Knotweed?
    • Generally, yes. But always check with local councils for specific regulations.
  5. Are there professionals who can help with Japanese Knotweed removal?
    • Absolutely. Several companies specialise in the removal and management of Japanese Knotweed.

Using a specialist company like ours can provide you with various services.

They can provide services such as surveying and assessment,  treatment and removal, and ongoing monitoring and maintenance. They can also advise on the best approach for your specific situation and comply with all relevant regulations and best practices for the safe and responsible management of Japanese knotweed.

Contacting a specialist company like ours can help ensure that the growth and spread of Japanese knotweed are properly controlled and managed, preventing harm to the environment and surrounding properties.

Phone Stephen for more advice or information at 07753682333