One of the UKs most dangerous plants is currently being forced out of Yorkshire, thanks to the efforts of the River Stewardship Company.
Giant Hogweed is a highly dangerous Non-Native Invasive Species which is traditionally found along riverbanks and canals. However it is slowly colonising habitats away from the water’s edge; such as along footpaths and urban areas.
This invasive weed can grow up to 6m (20ft) high, with its leaves spanning 1.5m (5ft); seeing it towering over our native plants. But despite its size, it is its sap which renders this plant one of the countryside’s most dangerous species; causing severe burns and blisters to the skin. Burns can last for many months, and sufferers can remain sensitive to light for years afterwards. As such, it poses a huge threat to the safety of cyclists, dog walkers and families alike.
In spring 2015 the River Stewardship Company, a social enterprise specialising in the management of riparian habitats, decided to change this. Working on sites across the Aire and Calder catchments in West Yorkshire, their team of operatives have been working tirelessly to eradicate the species from the area, successfully using a combination of cutting and spraying techniques to control its growth and spread.
Working for local riverside landowners, such as homeowners, regional businesses and national organisations, patches of all scales and sizes have been treated in order to restore safety to the public alongside enhancing local biodiversity. Their successful management method has even drawn media coverage across TV and Radio alike, and seen them become a regular sub-contractor for England’s largest government waterways organisation, The Environment Agency.
Further information about controlling Giant Hogweed, as well as other Invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed and Himalayan Balsalm, can be located on the River Stewardship Company’s website. Members of the public can also report the spread of invasive plants through the plant tracker app.
River Stewardship Company is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England.
Company registration number: 6759419. VAT registration number: 975669843