The Bickerstaffe Record
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Spring 07 Bickerstaffe Record

Ragwort update 2007

03.11.07 | 1 Comment

Last year we published an article on the management of ragwort. Later, thanks to one particularly knowledgeable reader, we discovered that the guidance given to us by the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was inaccurate, so we printed a correction in the subsequent edition. Unfortunately, that edition was too late for the main ragwort growing season, so we undertook to revisit the issue before the next growing season. We are as good as our word. So here it is………………

Tackling ragwort (and knotweed)

In response to our article on horseriding in a previous edition, we were contacted by a number of residents expressing concern at the growth of ragwort in the Bickerstaffe area. Ragwort can be harmful to horses if they eat significant amounts of it.

The relevant legislation that is current is the Ragwort Control Act 2003, which came into effect in February 2004. The act covers the control and spread of ragwort and explains the responsibilities of land owners. A copy of the act is available at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2003/20030040.htm , and the Code of Practice, issued in June 2004, is at http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/wildlife/weeds/pdf/cop_ragwort.pdf

The latest act means that you can ask a landowner to deal with the ragwort. If they refuse, you can make a complaint to DEFRA who may issue an enforcement order. If that is not complied with, DEFRA can remove the weed at a cost to the owner.

A very manageable summary of how to deal with ragwort is at http://www.naturenet.net/law/weeds.html (please ask if you’d like a paper copy of this). It provides practical guidance on managing ragwort e.g. cutting and leaving it in a field is more dangerous to horses as it makes it more digestible).

It is also worth pointing out that Ragwort is poisonous so gloves and a respiratory mask must be used when dealing with it.

Very usefully, this website also deals with Japanese knotweed, which at least one eagle-eyed resident has spotted growing in Bickerstaffe, and is more rampant.

If you would like more information, please contact Paul, your local Labour campaigner. He claims absolutely on expertise at all in this area, but will pass you on to people who can.

Ragwort (picture: courtesy of Naturenet)

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