Injurious weeds: how to make a complaint

Use this form to complain about an infestation of injurious weeds where there is a risk those weeds will spread to other land.


WEED2 - Complaint form

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Complete this form if the landowner or occupier refuses to take action as set out in the guide Stop ragwort and other harmful weeds from spreading.

Make a complaint under the Weeds Act

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) does not have the resources to investigate every weeds complaint it receives, so concentrates on high priority complaints where any of the following apply:

  • weeds are threatening land used for keeping or grazing horses and other livestock
  • farmland used to produce conserved forage, or other agricultural activities
  • the complainant has made reasonable efforts to contact the landowner or occupier where the weeds are growing

Where a complaint is not high priority, Defra will acknowledge your complaint but will only follow it up if resources permit.

Defra will not act on incomplete complaint forms. These will be returned to the complainant for correction.

What you must do if Defra acts on your complaint

If Defra takes enforcement action because of your complaint, you will be expected to keep Defra informed of progress. Defra will only take further enforcement action if you report that the landowner or occupier has not done what Defra told them to do.

Your personal information

If Defra acts on your complaint, it will not usually reveal your identity to the occupier of the land you have complained about. However, in some circumstances Defra may be legally required to reveal your name to the occupier of the land concerned. This means Defra cannot guarantee your anonymity.

Contact the landowner or occupier

You should make a reasonable effort to raise your concerns with the owner or occupier of the land or the competent authority before complaining to Defra.

Railway land and embankments

Network Rail
1 Eversholt Street

telephone: 08457 11 41 41

Motorways and trunk roads

High­ways Eng­land
National Traf­fic Oper­a­tions Cen­tre
3 Ridge­way
Quin­ton Busi­ness Park
B32 1AF

Telephone: 0300 123 5000


All other roads

Contact your local Highways Authority. Find details of your local Highways Authority.

You must not enter railway land or verges alongside motorways to confirm whether weeds are there or to remove them. You must have the owner’s permission to enter other land. You should wear protective clothing whenever you handle injurious weeds.

Updates to this page

Published 30 March 2011
Last updated 25 July 2019 + show all updates
  1. Removed make a complaint leaflet - text on the page now explains how to make a complaint.

  2. First published.

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