The spread of a deadly weed has frustrated a Barford landowner so much that he is threatening to take local authorities to court.
Robin Smith-Ryland, who lives on the Sherbourne Estate and owns large swathes of land in the area, claims that the poisonous weed ragwort only sprung up since the Barford bypass was built five years ago.
The weed will kill livestock that eat it and the Ragwort Control Act 2003 imposes a duty of responsibility on landowners to effectively control its growth to prevent it spreading onto grazing land.
The Courier visited Mr Smith-Ryland’s farm to see that the weed is growing very close to his pastures. He has recently spent hundreds of pounds and his employees spent 40 hours of clearing one field of the flowers and their roots.
He said: “The ragwort is within 50m of my horses, which is completely illegal.
“An officer from the county council came to visit my land on July 9, but what is unacceptable is that, a month on, it is still there. They need to eradicate it when it is within half a mile of livestock.
“I have spent at least £500 so far on removing it, but I still have lots of work to do.”
Mr Smith-Ryland said he intended to issue a high court injunction to force the council and Highways Agency to remove the ragwort, adding: “I have been in contact with the county council about this for five years, but they never deal with it. If they don’t get rid of it now, it’s going to blow over into a lot more of my land, which is going to cost them thousands of pounds. Why should I pay for it?”
A Warwickshire County Council spokeswoman said: “Following a report from Mr Smith-Ryland, a treatment was carried out in the area last week.”
She added that the council was consulting with the Highways Agency and Mr Smith-Ryland on further treatment in areas close to his land.