This piece of legislation is placed on this site because it is the origin of the term Injurious weeds and indicates quite clearly that the term means harmful to the interests of agriculture as it existed at around the end of World War One. This piece of legislation is also important since it forms the basis of the Weeds Act 1959 which wasn't debated in parliament and just copied what had been previous law into a new format.


Part IV. of the Corn Production Act 1917.
As amended by the Agriculture Act 1920.
Power to Enforce Proper Cultivation.*

Under Part IV. of the Corn Production Act powers were given to Agricultural Committees, acting under the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, to compel land to be cultivated Production in accordance with good husbandry and also to order cultivations to increase the food supply.

These powers practically maintained in operation the powers under the Defence of the Realm Act, and also penalties could be enforced if the orders were not carried out. Compensation was payable where loss was suffered owing to the carrying out of orders issued by the Agricultural Committee or the Minister Agriculture.

Power was also given to the Committees to take possession of land which was not being properly farmed, and where the orders issued by the Committee had not been carried> out. These powers were given under Section 9 of the Corn Production Act 1917, which Section is now repealed, and in the Agriculture new powers are given to the Agricultural Committees to insist upon proper cultivation.


The Minister for Agriculture after consultation with the Agricultural Committee, if any exists for the district in which the lend is situated, may serve a notice if lie is of opinion (a)that any arable or grassland (provided it is not a park, garden or pleasure ground adjoining a mansion house or garden attached thereto,and required for protection or amenity Or land cultivated for osiers), is not lying cultivated according to the rules of good husbandry, requiring the owner or occupier to cultivate in accordance with that order, or, if he is of opinion(b) that the production of food any land can be increased without injuriously affecting the person{ interested in the land or altering the general character of the holding, or may be maintained or increased by the occupier by moans of an improvement in the existing methods of cultivation. or (c) that the occupier of such land has unreasonably neglected to execute the necessary works of maintenance if he is a tenant, being the works he is liable to execute under the terms of his tenancy, or if he is an owner of land in the occupation of a tenant being works which are necessary and for which he is liable to maintain the holding, calling for improvement in cultivation or repairs to be executed.

Crops In these latter cases (b) and (c) an order may also be> served ordering the tenant or owner whoever may be liable, to execute the necessary works stated in the notice and within the time also set out in these notices, and as regards orders for securing the necessary improvement in the existing method of cultivation, the order may not interfere with the discretion of the occupier as to what crops he shall grow.

The Minister may also, either in the same notice or in a subsequent one, provide for giving to the landlord payments or other benefits, if any, as the Minister thinks just having regard to profit made by the tenant by reason of any works of maintenance done by the owner. This provision to take effect as though contained in the contract of tenancy.

No action may, however, be taken by the Minister or Agricultural Committee unless a full report in writing . signed on behalf of the Minister or Committee, setting out in detail the matters complained of and the works required has been served upon the owner or occupier.

After the notice has been received and within fourteen days from the date of service, any person who is not satisfied with the terms of the notice may ask that the following questions be submitted to an arbitrator : (1) Whether the land has been cultivated according to the rules of good husbandry ?
(2) Whether the production of food on the land can in the national interest be maintained or increased by the occupier by means of the improvements in cultivation called for by the order ?
(3) Whether such improvements will injuriously affect persons interested in the land or alter the general character of the holding ? or
. (4)Whether the works required to be executed as works of maintenance are necessary, or whether the time in which they are to be completed as set out in the order is reasonable ?

The Arbitrator will be appointed as follows :

Unless there is agreement between the Minister of Agriculture and the person upon whom the notice is served as to the Arbitrator, then the President of the Surveyors' Institution shall nominate the Arbitrator who is to act , in the matter, and until the Arbitrator has given his decision, no action shall be taken for enforcing the order, . and where the decision has been given by the Arbitrator,. the order, if persisted in, must be made in the terms of that decision.

If the order is served upon the tenant, the landlord has the same right as the tenant of requiring any question to receive to be referred to arbitration, and whenever the order or notice. notice is served upon the tenant, a copy must at the same time be served upon the landlord. The notice may be served on the person to whom it is to be given, by giving it to him personally, or by sending it by post, or by leaving it at his usual place of abode. If such person is absent abroad notice be sent to his agent receiving rents on his behalf or it may be sent to the occupier for forwarding to landlord. If there is no occupier, notice may be fixed on the land.


The expression " rules of good husbandry " has been defined in the present Act, to mean (paying due regard to the character of the holding so far as is practicable, considering its nature and position).

(a) The maintenance of the land (whether arable, meadow or pasture) clean and in a good state of cultivation and fertility and in good condition ; and (b) the maintenance and clearing of drains, embankments and ditches ; and (c) the maintenance and proper repair of fences, stone walls, gates and hedges ; and (d)the execution of repairs to buildings, being repairs which are necessary for the proper cultivation of the working of the kind on which they are to be executed ; and (e) such rules of good husbandry as are generally recognised as applying to holdings of the same character and in the same neighbourhood.

Provided that no obligation is placed on any person to maintain or clear drains, embankments, or ditches, . where the execution of the work is rendered impossible except. at unreasonable expense owing to the subsidence of land or the blocking of out falls which are not under t he said person's control, nor where land is in the occupation of a tenant shall there be any obligations on the part of the tenant either
(1) to maintain or clear drains, embankments, ditches, or to maintain in proper repair fences, stone walls, gates or hedges where he is not liable to do so under his contract of tenancy ; or (2) to execute repairs to buildings for which he is not liable under his contract of tenancy.


Definition of The Act also defines the expression " necessary works Works of Maintenance. of maintenance " which an owner or occupier may be called upon to carry out under notice from the Minister or Agricultural Committee as the case may be. These works mean such matters as are necessary for the proper cultivation and working of the land on which they are to be executed, if they can be made without prohibitive or unreasonable expense, and provided that they fall within the following definitions :
(A) The maintenance and clearing of drains, embankments and ditches.
(B) The maintenance and proper repair of fences stone walls, gates and hedges.
(C) Execution of repairs to buildings. There is also, however, this proviso as in the case of "rules of good husbandry " set out above, that where owing to subsidence or the blocking of widens on land not under the control of the person on whom the notice is served, the carrying out of the work is rendered impossible, he is not liable to clear any drains, embankments or ditches.


Where the Minister of Agriculture is satisfied that there are injurious weeds growing on any land, he may serve on the occupier of the land a notice in writing requiring him to cut down or destroy the weeds, and if this is not done within a reasonable time, penalties as in the case of other matters as set out below can be enforced. In the case of the destroying of injurious weeds, the following persons are also defined as occupiers : Public roads.
(1) As regards public roads, the Authority by whom the road is being maintained.
(2) In the case of unoccupied land, the person entitled to the occupation thereof. Regulations may also be made for defining the injurious weeds in respect of which notices may be served.


As regards the powers of serving notices in respect of cultivation, works of maintenance, etc., a person entitled for his life or other limited estate comes within the expression " owner."


Although no compensation is payable in respect of loss suffered in carrying out orders for enforcing cultivations, etc., under this Act, rights of appeal are given to an Arbitrator against the Order, and if the terms of the Order are upheld, penalties arc incurred by the person liable to carry the Order, which penalties are as follows : Where the requirements of the Order are not complied with within a reasonable time. After summary conviction in respect of each offence there is a liability to a fine not exceeding 20, and to a further fine not exceeding 20s. for every day during which the default continues after conviction.

Provided, however, that (a) no proceedings can be taken in these matters except by the Minister and (b) the Minister is entitled to execute the work specified in the notice and Proceedings. to recover the reasonable cost of executing the work as a civil debt from the person in default, but the fact that the Minister has executed the work does not prejudice him from taking proceedings for a penalty.

In the case of " works of maintenance " where the land Tenant is in the occupation of a tenant and a notice has been served on the owner calling on him to carry out specified works, if the owner fails within the time mentioned in the notice to execute these works, the Minister may give authority to the tenant to himself carry out the works called for. Where this has been done the tenant may at any after the works have been executed recover from the owner the costs lie has reasonably incurred, in the same manner as if those costs were compensation awarded in respect of an improvement under the Agricultural Holdings Act of 1903.

No notice calling for works of maintenance to be executed shall request such work to be clone within a period of less than one month from the date of the notice, unless in the opinion of the Minister himself some shorter period should be stated in the notice.