Who is responsible for the control of injurious weeds?
The landowner or occupier is responsible for the control of injurious weeds. The Department of Infrastructure have responsibility for highways and public rights of way up to the verge, but do not have responsibility for the hedge bank which is the responsibility of the landowner/occupier.
When is it an offence to have injurious weeds on my land?
Following recent changes to the Weeds Act, it is now only an offence to harbour injurious weeds if after a notice is served by DEFA, the weeds are not removed after the stipulated period (usually a week). However, it is in your best interests to ensure that weed burdens do not build up to levels that may cause a problem on your or neighbouring land, particularly agricultural fields.
Why are Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and other well known problem weeds listed in the Weeds Act?
The Weeds Act was originally designed to protect agriculture from weed species that are injurious to agricultural practices. Many of the species listed in the Weeds Act produce abundant seeds which can spread widely on farmland. In the days before efficient chemical herbicide such weeds could affect the quality of crops. In addition, ragwort is toxic to livestock.However, many of these species are native to the Isle of Man and their importance to wildlife is now recognised.
Species such as Japanese knotweed and giant hogweed are considered as non-native, invasive plants. They do not generally pose a problem on farmland but are not desirable in the wild as they can compete with native plants. Non-native, invasive species are dealt with in the Wildlife Act (1990) which makes it an offence to plant or allow these species to spread in the wild.