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The British Horse Society British Horse Society Ragwort campaign gallops on

Following the extremely successful BHS press conference to launch the draft code of practice to control the spread of Common Ragwort, held at the Royal International Horse Show last week (24 July) with Alun Michael, Minister for Rural Affairs and Minister for the Horse, the Society's campaign has received unprecedented media coverage.

Four major national newspapers, national radio, regional television and radio and numerous local newspapers, to say nothing of the equestrian media, have provided coverage of the campaign which is currently enjoying high profile political attention through the BHS Private Members' Bill and draft code of practice.

The PMB provides for a statutory code of practice which will be admissible in evidence and the draft document, launched at the press conference by Alun Michael, will provide a strategy and guidelines for landowners and occupiers to comply with the Weeds Act 1959 in controlling the spread of Common Ragwort seeds.

In addition to the Bill and code, Defra have announced a review of the way in which they will deal with complaints and enforcement of the Weeds Act. Complaints will be given high priority where the weed is threatening land used for grazing horses and other livestock, or farmland used to produce conserved forage or other agricultural activities and the complainant has made reasonable efforts to contact the landowner or occupier where the weeds are growing.

BHS chief executive, Kay Driver, said, "The BHS is delighted that its ragwort campaign has received such high profile coverage during 'Ragwort Action Week' (July 21-27). As a result the Society has received numerous calls from members and non-members on the subject and we have provided an 'Action Week' information sheet which can be used year round. Our campaign continues to grow and we look forward to the BHS Ragwort Bill reaching the statute book, hopefully early next year, followed by publication of the code in readiness for next Spring."


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