29 April 2019
The monthly meetings of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee (ENRC) and the Highways Authority took place on Thursday, 18 April 2019.
The use of road signage across the Island’s road network, raised through the ‘Report it, Sort it’ service, was discussed. The Committee agreed to conduct a review to ensure that appropriate signage, including ‘dangerous bends for next mile ahead’ and speed limit signage, is in place throughout the Island.
The Road’s Manager provided an update on the slurry testing that is ongoing on Knollcombes Road. He explained that although work was progressing well it was also being hampered by the current inclement weather conditions being experienced. The Road’s team had therefore moved on to undertake other work across the Island. Mention was also made of the excellent work being done by the Rock Guards in constructing a buttress wall under the rock crop secured with netting last year below Sundale House.
The Invasive Plant Specialist (IPS) and the Acting Director of Environment, Natural Resources & Planning (ENR&P) discussed progress on the current Darwin Plus funded Invasive Species Project. Topics included approaches, actions, and interventions, both pre and post border.
An Invasive Plant Management Framework (IPMF) is being developed with a workshop to be held with all relevant stakeholders. Legislation relevant to invasive plants have been reviewed and biosecurity legislation is being developed to minimise risks of invasive plant imports. As part of raising awareness, the IPS is working with the Saint Helena National Trust (SHNT) by putting together activities for Invasive Awareness Week, starting 13 May 2019. Funding from the project will also enable a qualified Pesticide Trainer to visit the Island in May. This will result in more people on the Island being trained in the safe use of pesticides for invasive plant control and to become trainers themselves, ensuring long-term capacity building and post-project sustainability. Best Practice Guidelines are being developed for the removal, transport, and disposal of green waste in collaboration with the Roads Section and Waste Management Services.
In addition to the five key species, the project has been looking at options to control Bull Grass, a particularly invasive plant on pasture land. Trials are still ongoing on Deadwood Plain in collaboration with the SHNT and the Syndicate. Since this is a prime habitat area for Wirebirds, every precaution is being taken to ensure their safety.
The presentation highlighted the key management and resourcing requirements that will be needed post-project in order to build on the project’s capacity building and the recurrent work being done to date. These include a dedicated invasive plant management function in the form of a small team to work alongside the Biosecurity Section and the associated operational costs of the team, to lead and co-ordinate the National IPMF and work through all relevant sectors to provide Island-wide coherence to invasive plant management actions. The team would also co-ordinate and implement outreach and fundraising actions for invasive plant management going forward. Other key requirements included the importance of additional funding for invasive plant management actions on the ground in the agriculture, forestry, conservation, and roads management sections, so that a whole landscape approach could be taken to controlling and managing invasive plants in the future.
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29 April 2019