A NEW CODE of practice that sets out guidelines to prevent the spread of ragwort has been launched at the Royal Show.

Junior DEFRA minister Alun Michael launched the document as he toured the event at Stoneleigh, Warks on the opening day (Jul 4).

“This code will help to cut the number of horses that die each year from ragwort poisoning,” he said.

“It is a good practice guide for all who own or occupy land to help them deal with the problems of ragwort individually and as a community.”

The code sets out the way in which individuals should deal with disputes over ragwort responsibility.

It reminds land managers and landowners that anyone who disregards the need to control ragwort can be prosecuted under the 1959 Weeds Act.

The document also details all the different control methods that can be used with ragwort and explains which is the most suitable for different situations.

Ragwort is a native species but it contains toxins that can have fatal consequences if the plant is eaten by horses and other grazing animals.