Hapton farmer warns about dangers of toxic plant growing in Simonstone

A burn caused by contact with giant hogweed.
A burn caused by contact with giant hogweed.

A concerned Hapton man is highlighting the dangers to human health of a toxic plant growing in Simonstone.

Farmer Graham MacGregor has warned that giant hogweed found annually in land behind the Department of Work and Pensions Centre in Simonstone Business Park, Blackburn Road, can cause severe skin burns.

Hapton farmer Graham MacGregor, who is warning about the dangers of a toxic plant growing in Simonstone, with one of his lambs.

Hapton farmer Graham MacGregor, who is warning about the dangers of a toxic plant growing in Simonstone, with one of his lambs.

The plant, which has white flowers, can reach over 3m (10ft) in height. Chemicals in its sap can make the skin sensitive to sunlight, which can result in blistering, pigmentation and long-lasting scars.

But the DWP deny that the plant is growing on their land.

A DWP spokesperson added: “We take all matters of health and safety at our premises very seriously, and a site audit has already taken place. It was found that the Hogweed is not rooted on DWP premises, and this matter is now being investigated by the local authority.”

Chemicals in the sap of Giant hogweed can make skin sensitive to light.

Chemicals in the sap of Giant hogweed can make skin sensitive to light.

Land behind the Department of Work and Pensions Centre in Simonstone seen by satellite view. Hapton farmer Graham MacGregor claims the white plants highlighted in the red area are toxic giant hogweed.

Land behind the Department of Work and Pensions Centre in Simonstone seen by satellite view. Hapton farmer Graham MacGregor claims the white plants highlighted in the red area are toxic giant hogweed.

Graham MacGregor has said that giant hogweed found annually in land behind the Department of Work and Pensions Centrecan cause severe skin burns.

Graham MacGregor has said that giant hogweed found annually in land behind the Department of Work and Pensions Centrecan cause severe skin burns.