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There are five weeds named in the Weeds Act 1959. These species are native to the UK and contribute to biodiversity. However, they can also:

  • be harmful to grazing animals such as cattle, sheep and horses, and 
  • impact crops if they spread 

The species included in the Weeds Act 1959 are:

  • common ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  • curled dock (Rumex crispus)
  • broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius)
  • spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
  • creeping or field thistle (Cirsium arvense)

Rural Inspectorate Wales (RIW) can issue a notice if there is a risk to:

  • grazing animals, or 
  • agricultural land 

This notice requires an owner or occupier to take action to prevent the weeds from spreading.

If you have concerns about an infestation of any of these weeds, you may make a complaint. Use the Injurious weeds: complaint form.

RIW will investigate complaints where there is a risk of these weeds spreading to land that’s used:

  • for grazing horses or livestock,
  • for forage production, like silage and hay, or
  • to grow crops

Ragwort is the most commonly reported of the five weeds. The Code of practice on ragwort includes advice for landowners and occupiers.