Your Guide to Invasive Non-Native Species

Before we go any further, let’s explain a little about what invasive non-native species are. Non-native species are plants that grow outside of their normal range – this might be due to human intervention, sometimes not. If these non-native animals or plants persist in this new environment, they are then deemed to be naturalised.

As a rule, this does not present a problem, however, some can threaten habitats, ecosystems or native species, which can then result in damage to the environment. Naturally this type of non-native species is considered invasive. They are invasive because there may be no natural control mechanisms to keep them in check, there’s a high rate of spread, or a suppression of other species as they compete for resources. Invasive species can be fungi, algae, plants or animals.

There are important pieces of legislation and guidelines in place to help with invasive species such as:

The Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 – this helps with the control or eradication of alien species which pose a threat. This led to the Global Invasive Species Programme 1997 which then went on to publish the Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species 2001.

Then from this came:

  • The GB Non-Native Species Programme Board

  • The GB Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy 2015

  • The Non-Native Species Secretariat

  • From The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) – ‘Horticulture Code of Practice for England and Wales 2011’ + ‘Horticultural Code of Practice for Scotland.’

What if you have invasive plants on your land?

It’s best to hire a professional to deal with your problem. This is usually a contractor who holds a Certificate of Competence in dealing with herbicides and pesticides for where they are permitted to be used under the Food and Environment Act 1985. If you need to have an area treated near water, then you may need to contact someone in the Environment Agency who can find a list of trained contractors on your behalf.

What happens if I don’t do anything?

If you are contacted by the relevant authority, you must agree to take action or help to remove the species by getting in touch with a trained contractor. If you fail to do so, an environment authority can take further action to enforce control of it, this could involve entrance to the property where the land is with an order being issued.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act of 2014

There are powers which make it possible to take action on anyone who is not doing anything reasonable to help the situation and control the invasive species, especially if it is a threat to quality of life.

Ellendale Environmental - Invasive Plant Specialists

If you think you may have an invasive non-native species living on your property and you’re unsure as to what you should do, then please contact us here at Ellendale Environmental and we’ll be more than happy to help. We have experience in carrying out INNS surveys and dealing with flora and fauna infestations. By carrying out an extensive survey on your property, we can help develop a plan and liaise with stakeholders and any contractors, so we can work to eradicate the invasive species. We do this by taking into account all relevant environmental legislation and best practice guidelines.

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