Yes, you can but you must do this with extreme care.
The knotweed material must be burnt on site and not be burnt anywhere else as you could potentially carry a fine and in extreme cases, a custodial sentence.
How to burn Japanese Knotweed?
Once Japanese Knotweed has been removed it can be burned on your own land, but you will first need to let it dry out thoroughly. Next cut off the stems and leaves. Allow it to dry prior to burning.
Note: whilst it is drying out, do not let it touch the soil. Raise it off the ground or provide a barrier to prevent the roots taking hold again.
Is it safe to burn Japanese knotweed?
Yes. As long as you take preventative measures and do not transport it off site, then legally you can burn Japanese knotweed. Doing so requires being vigilant to ensure that all of it is burnt, as even the slightest piece after burning can still regrow.
Controlled burning is the best and safest way to get rid of Japanese Knotweed. Private householders can burn Japanese knotweed waste under controlled conditions in the garden. Store the green stems and leaves on a ground protection sheet until they dry out and then start a bonfire and gradually add them to the fire.
Check your local byelaws with regards to burning and bonfires. It is also a good idea to ring the local fires service to let them know you are setting a fire to avoid any unnecessary phone calls from concerned neighbours.
Will burning kill Japanese knotweed?
Most of the time, but not always. It is a persistent plant and resists the best attempts to eliminate it completely. It is for the reason that councils have very strict rules regarding transportation and removal of Japanese knotweed. You will still need to have the burnt waste transported to the specialist landfill site in order of disposing of it successfully.
However, even after burning Japanese Knotweed, the rhizomes may still be active and are capable of growing a full plant when they next come into contact with soil and water. For this reason, even after burning, you will need to contact a professional Japanese Knotweed removal company.
The rules regarding businesses burning Japanese Knotweed
If you are a business that wants to burn Japanese knotweed you need to comply with the requirements of certain authorities and contact:
- the Environment Agency at least a week before you burn it
- the environmental health officer at your local council
You do not need to do this if you are burning the waste privately as an individual, but you should check with your local council that burning is allowed.
Japanese knotweed crown and rhizome may survive burning so you must dispose of any remaining material following the guidance on how to bury or dispose of it off-site.
What about farmers?
Farmers burning Japanese knotweed plant waste have further legal obligations to follow.
You will also need an environmental permit or registered waste exemption if you are a business – this includes if you are a farmer.
If you are unsure what to do, then it is probably best that you seek professional help in eradicating the knotweed and not fall foul of the law.
Want to know more?
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