They Might Be Giants

 The unwelcome sight of Giant Hogweed growing in the central reservation of Princess Parkway just south of the junction with the M60.
 Why unwelcome? Unfortunately Giant Hogweed is one of the few highly toxic plants capable of causing blistering, severe burns,  and even blindness. Highly invasive and typically found along river banks and wasteland the sap contains toxic chemicals known as furanocoumarins.  When these come into contact with the skin they react with sunlight and cause a reddening of the skin followed by blistering and severe burns. The burns can last for several months and even once they have died down the damaged skin remains sensitive to light for many years.
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In approximately 2 weeks time these plants will seed themselves. Undoubtedly some of the 100,000 seeds per plant will end up in the storm drains alongside the parkway and from there its straight into the River Mersey via the outfall under the bridge. Once in the Mersey next stop Kenworthy Woods, Chorlton Water Park, Sale Water Park and Urmston Meadows.
 The initial response from Highways England was encouraging. However 4 weeks later Balfour Beatty Mott McDonald still hadn’t removed them. Somewhat bizarrely although it isn’t illegal to grow Giant Hogweed it is illegal to plant or cause it to spread.

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