Sunday 13 October 2019

Clearing of weed a costly exercise

Sorcha Crowley

The invasive plant species devaluing Sligo properties is still rampant on local roads but has largely been eliminated from National Primary roads.

It follows a four year treatment programme begun in 2016 to address what's often referred to as Europe's most hated weed: Japanese Knotweed. The herbaceous plant's root system undermines building foundations, roads, walls and other infrastructure. If it's found growing as close as 10m from a building owners are advised to call in the experts.

Cllr Donal Gilroy asked the Council what was being done to prevent the weed from damaging roads and private property along National Primary roads, secondary roads and local roads.

Director of Services Tom Kilfeather told Cllr Gilroy that 95 infestations along the National roads in Sligo had been treated since 2016 and the weed "largely eliminated."

However 42 infestations identified on regional roads last year will cost them €20,000 to eradicate over the next few years.

There is no money allocated in the budget to address Japanese Knotweed infestations along local roads however.

Where outbreaks are being reported, the Council is erecting warning signs to alert people as to its presence and to prevent hedge-cutting in the area. Hedge-cutting only spreads the weed.

Mr Kilfeather also said all outbreaks of Japanese Knotweed that have been reported to Sligo County Council are uploaded to Eradicating Japanese knotweed on private property is a matter for the property owner.

In the last 12 months following representations from Cllrs Mulvey and Casserly, the Council held workshops on Biodiversity and Invasive Species in Coolaney and Grange.

"Keep the education out there," said Cllr Gilroy. "Keep the signs up. We need to keep people's awareness of it up," he said.

Sligo Champion