Council call for Giant Hogweed ‘monster’ to be included in new study

THE “scourge” of Giant Hogweed was again highlighted at last week’s monthly meeting of Banbridge District Council when disappointment was expressed that the River Bann has not been included in a new scientific study on the pollutant.

Councillor David Herron raised the issue after becoming aware of a new study being carried out at Queen’s University, Belfast, in which the Clanroy River near Newry was being spotlighted, but there was no mention of the River Bann.

Mr Herron asked for council officers to find out if anything could be done to position the River Bann “on the list” for investigation, as Giant Hogweed had plagued the area for years.

“Giant Hogweed has caused many skin problems for children playing near it, producing a ringworm-like effect,” said Mr Herron. “It is a bit of a ‘monster’ in this area.”

Councillor John Hanna said he was also surpised that the River Bann had been left out of the study into Giant Hogweed which had he said been a thorn in the flesh of local residents for years, particularly those living in the Gilford area.

“Giant Hogweed really needs to be tackled in this area and the River Bann needs to be a priority,” he added.

Director of Environmental Services, Davidn Lindsay, told the council a part-time biodiversity officer was being seconded to the council and this would be a “priority” and could link in with the Queen’s project.