Friday, 25 January 2013

NERC gets it wrong on Ragwort

During the winter this blog is quite naturally quieter since there is less of the hysteria and panic about ragwort to be seen. Today's posting is about something that has appeared  on the website of the Natural Environment Research Council ( NERC)

They have published at item on their Planet Earth blog saying.

"Some species, such as Ragwort, are covered by legislation stating they must not be allowed to spread, because their potential to harm crops and animals is so great."
There is no legislation in the UK which states that ragwort "must not be allowed to spread".
You may be ordered in extreme circumstances to control ragwort but there is no automatic requirement.
There is also a badly written Code of Practice, basing the risks on poor data,  which advises control measures but even this does not advocate control everywhere.

Also the blog is about foreign invasive species and ragwort is a native plant. One commenter on the blog says it is worthy of Private Eye and much of the general  nonsense about ragwort is indeed worthy of that kind of satire.

My view is that this brings NERC into distrepute. When myths like this have been repeated the Advertising Standards Authority has contacted the companies making the claims and they have been forced to stop making them.

The evidence is very very, clear the risk to animals has been exaggerated beyond reason and  on the basis of the evidence the fuss about ragwort, is mostly based on things that have been made up.

As usual these sites will give you proper information

Ragwort Facts
Ragwort Myths and Facts

Ragwort Hysteria latest entries