Lord Tebbit – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Tebbit on 2016-09-13.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Ragwort Control Act 2003 in preventing the spread of ragwort.

Lord Gardiner of Kimble

The effectiveness of this Act is assessed annually by recording details of complaints and enforcement cases. Research undertaken for Defra in 2013 concluded that ragwort is not becoming more widespread.

The Ragwort Control Act 2003 contains provision for a Code of Practice for the management and control of ragwort.

Common ragwort is one of the five, so called ‘injurious weeds’ and is toxic to grazing livestock including horses, so the priority is to protect them where there is a risk of them ingesting dead, dying or green ragwort. The Government recognises the impact that ragwort ingestion can have and we ask that landowners take all reasonable steps to ensure that ragwort does not spread from their land onto adjoining land, where it poses a risk to grazing livestock, land used for grazing or to produce hay/forage. Where complaints are received and there is a genuine risk to grazing livestock then action to ensure compliance is taken with private individuals or public bodies.