FEARS are growing that Japanese Knotweed is now endemic on Cumbrae.

Locals have been recording the spread of the invasive plant across the island - and informed Cumbrae community councillors of the concerns at a meeting last week.

Residents fear SEPA and the council won't step in to tackle the issue, meaning it is up to residents themselves to control its spread.

A map has been created showing all the knotweed locations that are on public land, with the plant already growing in around 20 locations on the island.

A community council spokesperson said: “The council has cut back some of it because it is on their land, but won’t treat the rest unless it is independently funded.

“Trimming it back is only going to encourage it to spread further, it must be properly removed if we are to stem the tide.”

The next stage of controlling the plant will be to encourage locals to take care of the spread on their own land.

Community council chiefs now plan to contact landowners telling them where the knotweed is, formally notify them and then point out that it is illegal to allow it to spread.

It would then become a police matter if people fail to act.

Community council chairman Graham Wallace says they will push landowners to play their part.

He said: “We pushed for the shrubbery to be cut back rather than the verges and unfortunately it has impacted the knotweed and made matters worse.

“We will push for North Ayrshire Council to help chase the landowners to see if they can tackle their knotweed individually.”

Independent councillor Ian Murdoch has promised to investigate the cutting of the knotweed without proper treatment.

He said: “I recently asked for the island verges to be cut when council workers were over on the island tidying the place up.

“I’m not sure if it was those guys that were interfering with the knotweed, but I will find out the answer to that.”

Conservative councillor Tom Marshall added: “The best islanders can expect is for the council to help writing to the landowners and ask them to help - but the council are certainly not going to remove the plants."