We are getting lots of reports of Giant Hogweed (GH) in the area. GH is a non-native, invasive plant which can grow very large and look very spectacular. But contact with the sap (from any part of the plant) desensitises skin to ultra-violet light, which results in severe burns and an increased sensitivity to sunlight which can persist for a number of years. GH is most commonly found along river banks, where it can spread quickly, producing thousands of seeds each year.
As an invasive plant, landowners have a legal responsibility to stop GH spreading. There is a very good AONB Unit report which gives guidance on dealing with GH, which must be done properly and carefully in accordance with guidelines. Chemical treatment requires a licence from the EA. You can see a copy of the AONB Giant Hogweed Report - Management Guidance here. You can also contact the AONB Unit for help and information: email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01424 723011.
The High Weald AONB Unit has been running a project, funded by the Environment Agency to map, identify and treat GH from Etchingham to Bodiam, and many were removed in the spring whilst still small (with landowner consent). Unfortunately, new ones have grown that had not been identified and treated; to completely clear them could take years, as some will seed each year if not dealt with.
Members of the public should avoid the plants and ensure that children and dogs are kept away. If you see any whilst walking that are close to public footpaths or public areas that could pose a danger to the public, please let us know and we will try to get them dealt with. Where we have been made aware of plants we have passed the information on to landowners.