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Highway Maintenance

Control of Ragwort on the Public Highway

1. Introduction

1.1 A regime of identifying and controlling common ragwort and other specified weeds is necessary in order to reduce their spread and to prevent them from damaging livestock, forage and food production and the environment.

2. Relevant Legislation/documentation

2.1 The Ragwort Control Act 2003 states common ragwort is an injurious weed and enables the Secretary of State to make a “Code of Practice to Prevent the Spread of Ragwort”. Common ragwort is the only species of ragwort to which the Code applies and therefore is the only species to which this policy applies. (Hereafter common ragwort will be simply referred to as ragwort.)

2.2 Ragwort is a specified weed under the Weeds Act 1959.

2.3 The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Code of Practice to Prevent and Control the Spread of Ragwort prescribes recommended methods of identifying, prioritising and controlling ragwort.

3. Policy

3.1 Hampshire County Council recognises the threat posed by ragwort to horses and livestock and has adopted a policy to tackle this threat.

3.2 In order to meet the recommendations of the Code of Practice and the requirements of the Ragwort Control Act 2003, Hampshire County Council has adopted a formalised method of identifying, prioritising and controlling ragwort on highway land and assessing the risk posed by ragwort.

3.3 Hampshire County Council's policy for controlling ragwort on highway land is a policy of control and not eradication based on risk as set out in the “Code of Practice on How to Prevent the Spread of Ragwort”.

3.4 Hampshire County Council's preferred method of ragwort control is to prevent the weed from becoming too well established.

3.5 Identification shall be carried out through the existing highway inspection system, knowledge of previous infestations and notification from external sources.

3.6 Identified sites shall be recorded and prioritised according to severity of infestation and proximity to livestock or land set aside for livestock feed.

3.7 Suitable methods of control shall be determined based on safety to operatives and the public, timing of control, size of infestation, effectiveness, effect on the environment, proximity to livestock or land set aside for livestock feed and the priority assessed through a risk assessment.

3.8 Hampshire County Council shall also employ a range of ancillary measures to prevent the spread of ragwort through such activities as education, communication, co-ordination and specifications for works contracts.

Version No:   1.1

Effective from:   14/10/2010

If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.


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