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Ragwort

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 11th September 2013.

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Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is planning to take to improve the management of ragwort.

Photo of David Heath David Heath The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

holding answer 10 September 2013

Responsibility for ragwort control rests with land owners and occupiers, who are expected to adhere to Ragwort Code of Practice (2003). Where the code has not been adhered to, Natural England will investigate complaints and take any appropriate enforcement action. My ministerial colleague, the Under-Secretary of State, Richard Benyon, wrote to over 500 public bodies in February this year reminding them of their responsibilities under the code.

DEFRA is currently working with interested parties to establish what more can be done to encourage ragwort control; this includes improving the current evidence base, as well as considering various options for streamlining the complaint process.

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Annotations

Bill Ellson
Posted on 12 Sep 2013 6:37 pm (Report this annotation)

Ragwort, a native species important for biodiversity, is a very bitter plant that horses will only eat if they are starving or malnourished. It is only a problem if it gets into to hay or silage (because it loses its bitter taste).
Herbicide salesmen and other vested interests have captured DEFRA and the result is a minister encouraging public bodies to waste money.

Esther Hegt
Posted on 12 Sep 2013 9:34 pm (Report this annotation)

Is it possible DEFRA can provide figures about dead horses caused by Ragwort, or other PA containing plants? Like Comfrey or Butterbur?