HC Deb 16 July 2003 vol 409 c308W
Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contractual arrangements exist for the clearing of ragwort from highway land along the A36 (T) and the A303 (T) in the Salisbury constituency; and what the cost was in(a) the last financial year and (b) this financial year to date. [125651]

Mr. Jamieson

The Highways Agency manages the control of injurious weeds on the A36 and the A303 through its Area 2 Maintaining Agent (Atkins) and Term Maintenance Contractor (Raynesway Construction Southern). Under the terms of the arrangements, the Agent has a duty to manage the grassed and landscaped areas within Highways Agency land adjacent to the highway in compliance with the Trunk Road Maintenance Manual. In this Manual, Volume 2 Chapter 1.10 Section(b) 'Nuisance' states that the Highways Agency aims to take a proactive approach to the control of injurious weeds, such as ragwort, as defined in the Weeds Act 1959. Priority is given to the control of ragwort on highway land which is adjacent to or near agricultural or grazing land.

The costs shown below have been calculated by proportioning the spend on the A36 and A303 routes as a whole to the lengths encompassed by the Salisbury constituency. The cost of clearing ragwort in the 2002–03 financial year was £19,500. The cost for clearing ragwort this financial year is £1,750 to date.