River Don trust fight back against toxic invader

Giant Hogweed
Giant Hogweed

The River Don trust is urging landowners with property within the Don catchment area to help them in their efforts against Giant Hogweed.

An invasive, non native plant species, Giant Hogweed is scattered throughout the British Isles, common especially along riverbanks after being introduced in the late 1800s as an ornamental plant, it spread rapidly after “escaping” from the estates it was planted on.

Under the WANE act 2011 (Wildlife and Natural Environment Scotland) landowners can technically be prosecuted for allowing dangerous plants to grow unchecked on their land.

Jamie Urquhart, chief biologist for the trust said: “The main issue with this species is the very dense stands which choke the life out of surrounding vegetation...and remaining sediment after winter which washes out into the rivers, effecting invertebrate and fish life, and subsequently, surrounding flora and fauna. They also have a very toxic sap which can give very bad burns and cause blistering.”

The trust recognises the importance of working closely with communities to halt the spread of the weed.

Mr Urquhart said: “Councillor Patricia Oddie has been our champion she’s been doing a lot of work behind the scenes. We are already working with some estates and utilising their work forces to help in our efforts.”