Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The law on ragwort : The legislation explained

One of the most common misconceptions about ragwort is that it is in some way illegal to grow it. It is most certainly not. The law relating to this is mainly the Weeds Act 1959 but also the misleadingly named Ragwort Control Act 2003.

The Weeds Act means that in rare cases you may be ordered to control ragwort but in the absence of any such order you have not duties or obligations what so ever.

Before the recent outburst of irrationality over ragwort the Weeds Act was never used at all.

The Ragwort Control Act? Well this does nothing much really only let the government produce a code of practice which could be used in court in the really rare cases ( probably non existent) where someone is prosecuted for not complying with a rare Weeds Act order.

See Ragwort the law explained.
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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Ragwort seed spread myths

There is a great deal of misinformation around about the ability of ragwort seeds to spread.
This example from Horse and Hound's forum recently is a good example.

The plant is a real survivor and is Worldwide, each plant can produce up to 120, 000 seeds per year that are light enough to travel the globe in the upper atmosphere.

This is nonsense!

Firstly the 120,000 seeds figure is a maximum and not typical. but the research hows very clearly that the seeds do not spread like this. They are heavier than air but they have what is in effect a tiny parachute. Parachutes do not lift they merely slow the rate of descent.

In fact the seeds have been shown to mostly fall within a few metres of the plants.

See http://www.ragwortfacts.com/ragwort-dispersal.html


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Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Injurious weeds do not cause injury

There is often a poor understanding of terminology that surrounds ragwort. This is a case in point. It comes from this site, which falsely states

It is important that any specialist is familiar with existing legislation such as the Weed Act 1959, which stipulates where action must be taken to guard against injury from weeds such as: Ragwort, Spear, Thistle and any other weed type that is acknowledged as being able to cause harm or injury.

To start with it is the Weeds Act 1959 and the plant is Spear Thistle but ignoring those typos it is clear that that particular act of parliament says nothing of the sort at all. It just gives the government the power to order people to control certain weeds. These weeds do not cause injury but are called "injurious" weeds. This word means harmful to the interests of something. These days civil servants would not use words like this as society has changed and fewer people study Latin, from where this word ultimately comes but it doesn't stop people jumping to the wrong conclusion. For a fuller explanation see this Injurious weeds explained.
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