Victorian Escapee Arrested - Giant Hog Weed Under Control
Giant Hogweed is an impressive plant from the Caucasus region of far eastern Europe which can grow up to 12 feet tall and can have a flower head up to a foot across. These impressive statistics made it a plant that was sought after for Victorian estate gardens. In the Highlands it is thought that the climate has limited the plant's spread from Victorian gardens and it is only found in a few places and, apart from the River Nairn, it does not cover a substantial area. But with our climate warming this could create the right conditions for further expansion of the Giant Hogweed along the rivers in Highland.
To stop this happening and to get this species under control work was started on the Balnagown River by the Cromarty Firth Fishery Trust and on the Auldearn Burn by the landowners there to control the plant. However this work stopped by 2009 so The Highland Council decided to identify the main areas of Giant Hogweed not under active control and secure funding to coordinate control.
A three-year grant was secured from SNH with match funding from the council to coordinate control of the Giant Hogweed on the Auldearn Burn and around Munlochy. A local land agent, Bowlts, was paid to contact all the owners and arrange access for a single contractor to spray all the sites in Spring. Each landowner payed for the spraying required on their ground.
At Munlochy, within just one year of spraying, there has been a noticeable difference in the cover of Giant Hogweed. At Auldearn the cover has reduced significantly since 2006 but there are still a few plants springing up due to the large seedbed and the fact the seeds can stay dormant for over 5 years, but it is very much under control.
In 2011 the Inverness Non-Native Plants Project started, partially funded by the Landfill Communities Fund, this is tackling species such as Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed in the Inverness area. In 2012 coordinated control works started on the River Nairn by The Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fishery Trust and the riparian landowners.
In 2012 a further 4 years of funding of Giant Hogweed Control coordination was secured from SNH with match funding from Highland Council. This will continue the work underway in Auldearn and Munlochy. This is a long term project but by acting now, a great deal of money will be saved both in terms of control costs and also reducing any income lost due to this plants impact on local businesses.
Photo from Wikipedia
See - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_hogweed
Trading Standards Officers at The Highland Council are reminding businesses to be wary of making donations to telephone cold-callers looking for contributions to seemingly good causes. Reports have come in of Highland businesses being targeted by publishing firms seeking payments for educational publications in return for the business being named as a contributor.
The Highland Councilís snow clearing / gritting route policies and area maps are online for 2013/14 at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. Road condition and gritting treatment reports by The Highland Councilís, Transport, Environmental and Community Services for Thursday 5 December 2013 are as follows: Caithness, South Sutherland and East Ross U2126 Oykel Bailley Bridge Road closed due to flooding.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service Ė currently provided by the police - ends. Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year.
Today (5 December 2013) 56 schools, 7 Service Points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather or loss of water. There were issues with the Councilís website and school closures online which are being investigated.
Currently firms are contacting businesses asking for support for an educational programme on cyber bullying. The line is that councils have cut back on their funding and they can offer help to classes in your local school if you donate to the programme.
Mr Neil Gillies, The Highland Councilís Director of Transport Environmental and Community Services, has announced his decision to retire from the Council, with effect from the end of January, next year. Mr Gillies joined the former Highland Regional Council in 1978 and worked on a wide range of civil engineering projects including roads, bridges, harbours and coast protection works, and road maintenance.
The by-election for a councillor to represent the Landward Caithness Ward (No 4) on The Highland Council has been won by Matthew Reiss, who will join the Independent Group on the Council Mr Reiss was one of five candidates who contested the vacancy, created by the resignation of Alex MacLeod. He joins Councillors David Bremner (Independent), Willie Mackay (Independent) and Gillian Coghill (Independent) in representing the Landward Caithness Ward.
The Highland Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) has been successful in securing further funding to support coastal communities as part of the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 programme. There is now over £200,000 still available to assist projects which contribute to the sustainable development of fisheries areas around the Highlands.
A key piece of work to maximise the onshore benefits in Caithness and North Sutherland from the anticipated upsurge of marine renewables has been updated to highlight progress already made and to set new targets for the year ahead. The North Highland Onshore Vision was produced by The Highland Council in 2011 to support the development of marine renewable energy developments.
ďThe North Highlands are ready for winterĒ was the message given at the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee yesterday (18 November 2014) with staff, vehicles and a plentiful supply of salt in place to treat roads and footpaths over the coming winter months. The Highland Council has increased its winter maintenance budget to £5.6 million this year and has introducing an improved service with 45,500 tonnes of salt in storage in readiness for winter.
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