Ragwort Control Act

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th January 2006.

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Photo of Sir David Amess Sir David Amess Conservative, Southend West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the operation of the Ragwort Control Act 2003.

Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Rural Affairs, Landscape and Biodiversity)

The central part of the Ragwort Control Act is the publication of a code of practice on how to prevent the spread of ragwort. The code was published in July 2004 and provides comprehensive guidance on how to develop a cost-effective and strategic approach to weed control. It includes advice on the identification of Common Ragwort, risk assessment and priorities for control, the suitability and efficacy of control methods, environmental considerations and health and safety issues. The code of practice aims to reduce the risk of ragwort poisoning in horses and other livestock. It has been made widely available to individual land managers and also land owning institutions, such as local authorities.

The code of practice provides a yardstick against which compliance with an enforcement notice served under the Weeds Act 1959 can be measured. Together with Defra's revised procedures for investigating complaints about injurious weeds, the code of practice has enable Defra to make better use of the statutory measures available under the Weeds Act. In 2005, 69 enforcement notices were issued. Prior to the introduction of the code and the revised procedures, enforcement notices were rarely issued, if ever.

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