MANY supporters have contacted us to voice their concerns about ragwort, a weed which is blooming at the moment.

Ragwort contains toxins which can have debilitating or fatal consequences if eaten by horses and other grazing animals.

Ragwort has its place in the countryside; it supports a wide variety of invertebrates and is a major nectar source for many insects but it must be controlled, especially where there are horses and livestock. Land stewardship and animal husbandry are huge responsibilities and I know that they are taken seriously by farmers but it is important that the dangers posed by ragwort reach the widest possible audience.

There is a growing concern that some public bodies who own land, such as local auth-orities, are not taking the problem seriously and managing land appropriately, but there is no excuse.

The Countryside Alliance will be writing to all local authorities and other bodies in the coming weeks to remind them that they have a duty to control ragwort.

SIMON HART, Chief Executive, Countryside Alliance, Kennington Road, London.