Ragwort blitz urged

23 April 1999

Ragwort blitz urged

COUNCILS and highway authorities should do more to halt the spread of the poisonous weed ragwort, farming organisations insist.

"The NFU is asking councils to invest time and money in eradicating ragwort because it poses a major threat to livestock and agricultural land," said Colin Hall, senior technical advisor with the NFU in the south-east.

The union fears that ragwort is being allowed to spread un-checked, particularly along highways and on wasteland.

Meanwhile, a new campaign, spearheaded by the Country Landowners Association, has been launched to encourage landowners, farmers, councils and highway authorities to work together to tackle the spread of the weed.

According to the CLA, modern farming techniques and the prolific nature of ragwort have allowed it to spread dramatically in recent years, invading large new chunks of the British countryside.

"Ragwort is a menace," said CLA president Ian MacNicol. "But we will only get rid of it if everyone involved works together on a good neighbour basis.

"It takes only one individual – one landowner, one utility company, one highway authority, one horse owner – to fail to deal with the weed and they will create appalling problems for everyone else. Working together, we know we can rout ragwort," he said.

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