Toxic weed presence branded ‘a disgrace’

    Ragwort

    The prominence of the toxic weed ragwort in the borough has been labelled a ‘disgrace’ by a concerned parish councillor.

    The weed’s yellow flowers have been especially visible this year, he says, as a result of its not being properly cleared from verges.

    Goudhurst Parish Council chairman Antony Harris said: “I’ve raised the issue at two borough meetings, and featured it in our parish magazine.

    “If you look around our borough, it’s a disgrace. Many of our lanes and roads have not been maintained properly, but the borough and county councils tell you it’s not their responsibility.”

    Ingestion of common Ragwort, green or dried, can cause serious liver damage, which the government says can have a ‘devastating’ effect on horses and is also harmful to cows and other animals. It is the only one of the five weeds covered by the Weeds Act 1959 which is harmful to equines and other animals.

    Kent County Council says that although it has a special method for tackling ragwort, it will only do so if it grows on county council land.

    Mr Harris said: “The trouble is, it spreads down the main roads where they haven’t been mowing and gets into the fields next to them.”

    He also warned that although the plant will now start to lose its colour, it will be dispersing its seeds for next year and still needs to be dealt with.