Local DUP MLA Sydney Anderson has called for action to tackle the growth of giant hogweed in the Gilford area.
Mr Anderson has received complaints from local residents who are concerned about the growth of the toxic weeds and is now working with Gilford Concerned Residents Group to address the problem.
Mr Anderson stated, “The growth of these toxic weeds is concerning because giant hogweed contains chemicals which can lead to severe burns and blisters. In addition to this giant hogweed can damage the environment by blocking waterways and it can also kill local wildlife.
“Unfortunately, throughout the local area a number of locations have been swamped by a giant hogweed growth pandemic and it is vital that it is tackled properly not only because of its untidy appearance, but more importantly for safety reasons.
“I am aware that the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council have made use of funding for dedicated spraying training and also for the purchase of equipment to enable giant hogweed growth to be dealt with.
“This equipment has been made available for use by council staff and also for trained members of the public.
“Notably the council can only spray giant hogweed on its own property, but it has made provision for non-council property to be treated by people with specialised training.
“I am committed to liaising with Gilford Concerned Residents Group as we seek to deal with this hogweed problem and I will assist in any way possible as we move forward.”
Chairman of Gilford Concerned Residents Group Mr Timothy Mayes stated, “We are aware of the giant hogweed problem and as anyone who lives in the village knows we have advocated a multi-agency approach involving council, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Department of the Environment for some time.
“Following discussions with Mr Anderson he has committed himself to taking steps to engage with the relevant bodies in light of our concerns. Gilford Concerned Residents Group will continue to monitor the situation.”