Written Answers. - Noxious Weeds.

Nora Owen


406 Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if he will have arrangements made to have heracleum mantegazzianum, known as giant hogweed, listed as a noxious plant under the Noxious Weed Act, 1936, in view of the effects this plant can have if humans come in contact with it; if there are any regulations in existence dealing with this weed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20138/00]

I have no plans to review the noxious weeds legislation which was introduced at a time when specific weeds were a serious threat to farm productivity. A variety of approved agro-chemicals and machinery are now readily available to land owners for controlling weeds. Giant hogweed is not a specified noxious weed under the Act and poses no threat to agriculture. Consequently it would be inappropriate to use agricultural legislation to deal with the issue. I would contend that good management practice by land owners in areas normally accessed by the public should extend to adequate control of this plant and should not require specific legislation.