Ragwort Control Act 2003

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The Ragwort Control Act 2003[1]
Long title An Act to amend the Weeds Act 1959 in relation to ragwort; and for connected purposes.
Citation 2003 c 40
Introduced by John Greenway (Private Member's Bill)[2]
Territorial extent England and Wales[3]
Royal assent 20 November 2003
Commencement 20 February 2004[4]
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Ragwort Control Act 2003 (c 40) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It provides for the publication of a Code of Practice on Ragwort Control,[5] as common ragwort is considered a harmful weed that can endanger animals which browse it.[6]

Section 1 - Control of ragwort[edit]

This section inserts section 1A of the Weeds Act 1959 which enables the Minister (currently will be within DEFRA to make a Code, approved by parliament, and reads in full:

"(1) The Minister may make a code of practice for the purpose of providing guidance on how to prevent the spread of ragwort (senecio jacobaea L.).
(2) Before making the code the Minister must consult such persons as he considers appropriate. .
(3) The Minister must lay a copy of the code before Parliament. .
(4) The Minister may revise the code; and subsections (2) and (3) apply to the revised code. .
(5) The code is to be admissible in evidence. .
(6) If the code appears to a court to be relevant to any question arising in proceedings it is to be taken into account in determining that question.”

The 2004 Code (with amendments) applies only to England[7] and is set out here with additional Guidance on Disposal navigable here which was issued on 15 March 2011 followed by an addendum of 18 April 2012.

Section 2 - Wales[edit]

Section 2(1) provides that the reference to the Weeds Act 1959 in Schedule 1 to the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 (SI 1999/672) is to be treated as referring to that Act as amended by the Ragwort Control Act 2003. Section 2(2) provides that this does not affect the power to make further Orders varying or omitting that reference.

Section 3 - Short title, commencement and extent[edit]

Section 3(2) provides that the Act came into force at the end of the period of three months that began on the date on which it was passed. The word "months" means calendar months.[8] The day (that is to say, 20 November 2003) on which the Act was passed (that is to say, received royal assent) is included in the period of three months.[9] This means that the Act came into force on 20 February 2004.


Country Life questioned the effectiveness of this Act in 2006.[10]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 3(1) of this Act.
  2. ^ Hansard (House of Commons) Second Reading. 21 March 2003. At this time the Bill was called the Equine Welfare (Ragwort Control) Bill. It later became the Ragwort Control Bill.
  3. ^ The Ragwort Control Act 2003, section 3(3)
  4. ^ The Ragwort Control Act 2003, section 3(2)
  5. ^ The Work of the Department for Transport's Agencies - Driver and Vehicle Operator Group and the Highways Agency: Ninth Report of Session 2005-06. The Stationery Office. 27 July 2006. Page 96
  6. ^ "Prevent harmful weeds and invasive non-native plants spreading". gov.uk. 
  7. ^ "DEFRA Page on Ragwort Code and Guidance on Disposal and addendum". Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  8. ^ The Interpretation Act 1978, section 5 and Schedule 1
  9. ^ Hare v Gocher [1962] 2 QB 641, [1962] 2 All ER 673; Trow v Ind Coope (West Midlands) Ltd [1967] 2 QB 899 at 909, [1967] 2 All ER 900, CA.
  10. ^ "Country Life". 200: 33.  (Issues 31 - 35)

External links[edit]