The increasing occurrence of the poisonous weed ragwort, or 'stinking willie', was drawn to the attention of the Highland Council and Scottish Government roads officials this week.

Speaking at the Council's Community Services Committee, Easter Ross councillor and Holyrood hopeful Jamie Stone said: "Much of the Highlands are agriculturally livestock intensive - and it is worrying that some stretches of Scottish Government roads passing through these areas show an increasing amount of ragweed growing on their verges."


"Ragweed is poisonous - and if cut and dried with grass into hay, then it is deadly poisonous to livestock, particularly cattle and horses."


"The Scottish Government cannot be allowed to tolerate this weed growing on the verges of roads like the A9, and then seeding into next door fields where animals graze or where hay is to be cut."


"My question to representatives of the Scottish Government here today is this - what are the proposals to tackle this increasing problem?"


Responding to Councillor Stone's query, Scottish Government representatives acknowledged that ragwort is a poisonous and that there is a legal obligation on the Scottish Government to work to eradicate it. They undertook to review control measures for ragweed and to report back to the Highland Council.


Speaking after the meeting, Jamie Stone added: "I am pleased with the response, as far as it goes. The trick now is to see what happens next. Meantime I shall stay on the case".




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