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Invasive Species

Invasive Species are a problem on Arran as in much of the UK. Below is an article relating to the eradication of invasive species in Arran.

Jim Nichols from ACVS and Bill Calderwood Secretary of the Community Council will be coming to our next meeting in Lamlash Golf Club on the 10th September to talk about the Ayrshire Civil Contingencies Team to include us in the consultation for emergencies on Arran.

Do come along

Control of Non Native Invasive Species in Arran

Last weekend (17th & 18th August), staff from Ayrshire Rivers Trust (ART) made presentations to interested parties on Arran about the need for and prospect of controlling and perhaps even eradicating, Invasive Non Native Species on the Island. Stuart Brabbs, Gordon MacDermid and Emma Downie from the Trust were joined by Dr Catherine McGavigan from Queens University Belfast, to encourage the community to assist with identifying and recording Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and Giant hogweed so that in future, funding may be secured to help achieve these goals.

Currently ART is delivering a highly successful control strategy on mainland Ayrshire called the CIRB. Project (Controlling invasive priority species and restoring native riparian biodiversity). The CIRB project is funded through the EU’s INTERREG IVA Cross Border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body with co-funding provided by the Department of Environment Community and Local Government. This cross border partnership has been highly successful and Dr McGavigan detailed ART’s ambitious plans to include Arran in CIRB 2; a follow on project that should commence in 2015 if funding is secured.

In advance of developing the project, ART are keen to map the distribution of the 3 priority species, mentioned above, to ensure that adequate funds are applied for.

Over the course of the weekend, volunteers were shown how to identify and record these plants and then upload this information to a Scottish database, set up by the project’s partners. The assembled groups went for a walkabout in Brodick that highlighted the vast quantity of Japanese knotweed growing on our doorsteps and devaluing land and properties.

Returning to the hall, findings were discussed. Stuart explained that due to savings within ART’s budget, there is scope for training a dozen volunteers on Arran to NPTC PA6AW level in pesticide application. This is a nationally recognised qualification required by anyone applying pesticides and herbicides on or near water. This will allow the volunteers to take part in the planned control programme this year with the assistance of the Trust’s staff.

The training course and examinations would take place on Arran for two days during September at no cost to the volunteers. Those successfully completing the training and examination will be equipped with a full set of spraying equipment. The qualification may also help to improve future employment prospects and opportunities.

Arran is unlikely to get this offer of help again and it should not be ignored. Our Island is being taken over by this rapid invasion of unwanted species that destroy our habitats and exclude native plants. The speed of this invasion is so fast that in a few years we may not recognise Arran. We need to respond now and accept this very generous offer to help.

More details of the project and ART’s work can be found at

Please contact Ayrshire Rivers Trust as soon as possible, if you would like to get involved.