is poisonous to horses, ponies, and donkeys. Every year it kills
hundreds of these animals. Because of this it is one of five
harmful weeds in the UK that are covered by the provisions of
The Weeds Act 1959. Under this act the Secretary of State may
serve an enforcement notice on the occupier of land on which
ragwort is growing, requiring him or her to take action to prevent
In November 2003 further steps were taken to control Ragwort
when the Ragwort Control Act was adopted by Parliament. The Act
was sponsored by The British Horse Society.
The Ragwort Control Act gave the Secretary of State the power
to make a Code of Practice to prevent the spread of Ragwort.
By promoting good practice the code aims to reduce significantly
the number of cases of horses and other animals being poisioned
The Code give advice on:
of Common Ragwort
assessment and priorities for ragwort control
methods their suitability and efficacy
and safety issues
The Code will also make it easier to prosecute people who disregard
the need to control Ragwort. Similarly, those who have followed
the guidance laid down in the Code, would be able to use this
in their defence in any Court proceedings.
How to complain about the spread
||If you are concerned
about Ragwort spreading to your land, you must first approach
the owner or occupier of the land on which the weeds are growing
and ask them to take steps to clear them.
||In the case of
Ragwort growing alongside the motorway or trunk roads,
you should contact the Highways Agency (tel: 08457 50 40 30).
For other roads you should contact your local highways
authority which is normally the County Council or Unitary Authority.
If Ragwort is growing on railway land and embankments
you should contact Network Rail (tel: 08457 11 41 41).
||If, after contacting
the landowner or occupier nothing is done you can complete a
Weeds Act complaint form (Weed 2 Rev 7/03), which should then be returned
to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at
their Bristol or Crewe offices as appropriate. The two offices
deal with different areas of the Country so it is important your
form is returned to the right office. If you are unsure of which
office you should return your form too click here for more information. It is important
to note that DeFRA will only accept forms which are signed and
sent to them through the post. They will not accept e-mails.
Detailed advice on the best ways to kill
Ragwort is given in the DeFRA information notes -
The Weeds Act 1959 - Guidance Note on the methods
that can be used to control harmful weeds
The Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs publish a number of useful leaflets and booklets
concerning Ragwort and its control.
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