Cllr Alastair Majury on Giant Hogweed Problem
Early this year (July) the Stirling Observer reported that Stirling had been branded the “hogweed capital of Scotland” by a local conservation charity. The Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 gave Scottish Minsters and certain organisations including Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Forestry, and Marine Scotland but not local authorities the power to issue Species Control Agreements, Species Control Orders, and Emergency Species Control Orders to landowners who are not tackling invasive species on their land.
An FOI request by Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Councillor Alastair Majury has revealed that in the 15 years since the power was introduced just 4 Species Control Agreements have been issued, and no orders have been issued. Just one of these was for Giant Hogweed and this was issued by Scottish Natural Heritage in 2015 for land within the Stirling Council area.
Giant hogweed can grow up to five metres high and can cause serious burns and blisters if it comes into contact with the skin. The comment from Jonathan Louis, operations and development manager at Forth Rivers Trust, in July came as one volunteer battling the spread of the plant described Stirling as the “Hogweed capital of Scotland”.
Eradication was funded by a number of agencies and several sources including Scottish Natural Heritage, and Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the European Community’s LEADER fund. However, the money from SNH dried up in 2017 and SEPA’s cash support ceased last year. The trust has since 2012 been working to halt the spread of hogweed and other invasive species along the Forth river system.
As part of the FOI Scottish Natural Heritage said that the relevant bodies can make species control agreements and orders to require people to control invasive non-native species. This discretionary power is primarily aimed at preventing high impact invasive non-native species becoming established in and spreading within Scotland. For species that are already widespread, such as giant hogweed, Scottish Natural Heritage can offer species control agreements to support coordinated control programmes, where inaction on a particular land holding is jeopardising the success of the programme. A species control agreement is the first step towards a species control order, which can be enforced by carrying out the work and recovering costs, where appropriate.
Dunblane and Bridge of Allan Councillor Alastair Majury said:
“With funding for volunteers tackling invasive species such as Giant Hogweed drying up, and Stirling being considered the ‘hogweed capital of Scotland’, it is clear that the current reluctance of the empowered agencies to use control agreements and orders, is not working. I would urge Scottish Natural Heritage to work with the relevant landowners along the river Forth and elsewhere, and if necessary issue Species Control Agreements so that there is a concerted efforted to eradicate this dangerous invasive species.”
Please find the FOI response below:
A link to July 2019 Stirling Observer article is here — https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/stirling-branded-hogweed-capital-scotland-18781237
Alastair Majury resides locally in the historic Scottish city of Dunblane, and is a Principal Consultant and a Senior Regulatory Business Analyst working across the country. Alastair Majury also serves on the local council (Stirling Council) as Councillor Alastair Majury where he represents the ward of Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, topping the poll.
Alastair Majury, is also a director of Majury Change Management Ltd is a highly experienced Senior Business Analyst / Data Scientist with a proven track record of success planning, developing, implementing and delivering migrations, organisational change, regulatory, legislative, and process improvements for global financial organisations, covering Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Wealth Management, and Life & Pensions.
For several years now, Alastair has worked extensively with a variety of financial institutions in order to offer the utmost comprehensive services. As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury is expected to find intuitive and sensible solutions to complex problems.
As a data scientist/business analyst, Alastair Majury has worked closely with several high-profile businesses, such as BNP Paribas, National Australia Bank, Standard Life and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group.A graduate of University of Glasgow, Alastair Majury earned his M.A. in Economics with Business Economics. Since then, Alastair has undergone several training sessions and earned multiple certifications for a variety of skills. More specifically, he has earned certifications in IAQ, risk management, resource management, and a bevy of other areas. Alastair Majury thoroughly enjoys his work.
What excites him most about being a data scientist/business analyst is that every problem has a variety of solutions. This allows for a great deal of creativity on his part. Providing ingenious solutions to his customers’ problems provides a great deal of satisfaction to Alastair Majury. Every single day can be a new and challenging problem.
Although he is a fierce and determined worker, Alastair also manages to find free time to embrace his hobbies and interests. Alastair is a major proponent of philanthropy and charitable endeavors. He constantly finds new and exciting ways to promote charities and philanthropic organizations in his community. He also tries to donate time and funds to said organizations whenever he can. Alastair Majury firmly believes that if we all work together towards a common goal, we can find peace.