In recent weeks the invasive weed has been in the media spotlight, with incidents of injuries being reported, including to children.
The numbers of injuries could be set to increase as children roam affected areas in the summer holidays. There’s also a risk of injury to those tasked with removing the plant, unless correct safety measures are introduced.
Giant Hogweed sap is extremely toxic to the skin in sunlight, making it a serious and significant danger to public health.
Contact with any part of the plant, followed by exposure to sunlight, can cause severe blistering to the skin and discomfort, the latter possibly recurring over a number of years.
Giant Hogweed, along with the more widely known Japanese Knotweed, is increasingly coming under the spotlight of land and property professionals.
This is due in part to the reformed Anti-social Behaviour (ASBO), Crime and Policing Act 2014, and associated Community Protection Notices, which could be issued to necessitate landowners to deal with Japanese knotweed.
This could see fines of up to £20,000 imposed for companies failing to tackle the problem. Individuals would also be forced to comply too, or face a fine of up to £2,500.
Furthermore, as well as the ASBO legislation, new EU regulations have been introduced which could result in fines of thousands of pounds and prosecution if invasive plants such as these are not managed appropriately and in a timely fashion.
The EU regulations, which came into effect in January, will empower government agencies to issue Control Orders that necessitate the removal of high risk invasive weed species from specified areas, which could potentially include derelict sites, public land, construction sites and neighbouring properties.
Read the full Today's Conveyancer article here