A Community Protection Notice (CPN) can be used against individuals or organisations, with fines up to £20,000 for non compliance, who are acting unreasonably and who persistently or continually act in a way that has a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. The Act does not explicitly refer to particular plants, as the new anti-social behaviour powers are intended to be flexible. However, frontline professionals can stop or prevent any behaviour that meets the legal test in the powers.
Local councils and the police have power to issue notices for invasive non-native species placing restrictions on a person’s behaviour and, if necessary, forcing them to take steps to rectify the behaviour.
This means if an individual, or organisation, is not controlling invasive plants and could be reasonably expected to do so, the notice could be used after a mandatory written warning to get them to control the plants. Breach of any requirement of a CPN, without reasonable excuse, would be a criminal offence, subject to a fixed penalty notice for £100 or prosecution where an individual would be liable to a fine. For an organisation, such as a company, that could be up to £20,000.
It’s easy to see how failing to control invasive plants could have real consequences – and the plants would still need to be eradicated. Learning how to identify and control these plants is more-than-ever essential.”
Further guidance published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs setting out your legal responsibility for dealing with Japanese knotweed, other invasive plants and how to remove and dispose of them can be found here.
Details of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers can be found here.
Specific details relating to invasive plant species legislation can be found here.