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To ask the Scottish Government what assessment Scottish Natural Heritage has made of the efforts of (a) local authorities, (b) the Scottish Ministers and (c) private landowners to control or eliminate giant hogweed.

Answered by Aileen McLeod (14/09/2015):

The Rivers and Fisheries Trust of Scotland (RAFTS) Invasive Species and Biosecurity Programme began in 2008 with funding from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) Restoration Fund. Biosecurity Plans have been prepared by 23 of the local Fisheries Trusts with geographic coverage for 90% of Scotland. Coordinated control programmes have been initiated in 11 out of the 13 local Fisheries Trust areas where giant hogweed is widespread. In some areas, such as the Tweed, populations have already been reduced to very low levels. In others, control is at an early stage and concentrated on the upper parts of the catchment. RAFTS is completing an evaluation of effectiveness and lessons learnt from these programmes, which will be shared with SNH and SEPA. The network of Local Biodiversity Action Partnership officers was recently asked to provide details of giant hogweed control carried out by local authorities. The results of this survey suggest that most local authorities control giant hogweed on land that they own or manage, but that they rarely take action on private land. SNH liaises with Network Rail, the Trunk Road Operating Companies and Scottish Water over control of invasive non-native plants. All of these bodies control giant hogweed as part of their annual maintenance regimes.

In some parts of the country regional invasive non-native species groups and forums have been set up to develop strategic plans and encourage information exchange between the various bodies involved. Regional groups with a specific non-native species remit exist in Dumfries and Galloway, Falkirk, Aberdeen-shire and Highland Council areas. In other parts of the country, bodies such as the Tweed Forum and various countryside trusts have taken on a regional coordination role.

Current Status: Answered by Aileen McLeod on 14/09/2015
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