‘Extremely toxic’ giant hogweed growth on A47 - which presents ‘serious and significant danger to public health’ - prompts calls for its immediate eradication

Giant hogweed growth on A47 prompts calls for eradication

Giant hogweed growth on A47 prompts calls for eradication - Credit: Archant

The growth of a dangerous giant hogweed plant on the A47 has prompted calls for its immediate eradication.

Giant hogweed growth on A47 prompts calls for eradication

Giant hogweed growth on A47 prompts calls for eradication - Credit: Archant

The plant in question, Heracleum Mantegazzanium, is reported to be growing on the left side of the A47 from Wisbech towards March, about a hundred yards past Nettle Bank.

Reports have classified the hogweed as ‘a very nasty plant’ and it is believed anyone who touches it or comes into contact with any of its liquids may become hospitalised with severe blistering.

Councillor Alan Lay, an ex-landscaper and member of the Institute of Horticulture, said: “It was there last year and unless eradicated will get larger and spread further.

“No one wants to know, it’s crazy”, he added.


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National trade body The Property Care Association has urged the public in Cambridgeshire to treat giant hogweed with caution over fears that the number of injuries could increase as children roam affected areas in the summer holidays.

There is also a risk of injury to those tasked with removing the plant, unless correct safety measures are introduced.

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Stephen Hodgson, Chief Executive of the PCA, said: “Giant hogweed is widespread and the problems it can cause are certainly not insignificant.

“It needs to be controlled and managed professionally.”

Giant hogweed sap is said to be extremely toxic to the skin in sunlight, making it a serious and significant danger to public health.

New EU regulations, which came into effect in January, state that if invasive plants are allowed to grow, not managed properly or in timely fashion, those responsible could be fined thousands of pounds and may face prosecution.

Cllr Lay contacted the Environment Agency to be told the hogweed ‘was not in their jurisdiction’.

He said he is amazed that not one person employed by Wisbech Town Council,

Fenland District Council or Cambridgeshire County Council has reported the huge plant.

“I think that employees of these three councils must pass this area at least ten times a day, but no-one sees, or wants to, or even understands it.

“I see these things and I know they are damn dangerous,” he added.

“But no one wants to bother at all.”

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