Sunday, 22 July 2012

You are wrong Lady Bathurst

Today's blog post concerns a posting made by Lady Bathurst on Twitter. She says.:-
The Glos CC DO need to deal with the ragwort problem.. Noxious weed - its the law to eradicate it 

Ragwort is poisonous but it is only one of many poisonous plants. The toxins in it actually occur in 3% of the world's flowering plants including many here in the UK but we do not hear about these. We know from the scientific literature that ragwort poisoning is rare, but often the perception is different. This is because ragwort has been the subject of a campaign of misinformation. It is incorrect to say that it is the law to eradicate ragwort. The official guidance from Defra actually says the following:-

This code does not seek to eradicate ragwort. Ragwort, as a native plant, is very important for wildlife in the UK. It supports a wide variety of invertebrates and is a major nectar source for many insects.
You may, in extreme circumstances be ordered to control ragwort but in the absence of an order there is  no obligation on anyone to do anything.

In fact the Advertising Standards Authority banned a  British Horse Society leaflet for making that false statement about the law. They also stopped a number of adverts promoting the ludicrously high figures for animal deaths. Here is a briefing on ragwort law.

Most of the fuss about ragwort as I blogged previously is based on things that have, in effect just been made up.

Ragwort is one of the most important plants for nature conservation. The charity Buglife have a section on ragwort on their website

Ragwort Hysteria latest entries

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