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Invasive Non-Native Species

The Invasive Non-Native Species Working Group addresses issues associated with invasive non-native species in the UK, through both practical intervention and appropriate legislation. The Group advocates these solutions to decision makers, practitioners, and the general public.

Chair: Paul Walton, RSPB
Policy and Campaigns Manager: Zoe Davies, Link

Update from the group:

The Link Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Working Group continues to advocate for INNS legislation to be properly implemented, resourced and enforced, now and after the UK leaves the EU.

A key focus for the INNS Group in January was to brief Parliamentarians on the Statutory Instrument (SI) that will convert the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation into domestic law. Although the Group appreciates Defra’s efforts to ensure that there are no substantive legal or policy changes in the SI, the way it operates in practice in UK statute remains of significant concern, due largely to lack of comparable infrastructure and access to resources. Our concerns were raised by MPs and Peers during Delegated Legislation Committees in both Houses.

These concerns were also shared by the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee in the final report of its Brexit: Biosecurity inquiry. The Committee’s conclusions were very much aligned with those in Link’s evidence, namely that Brexit is likely to lead to serious shortfalls in the UK’s biosecurity in areas such as access to funding, enforcement of legislation, information sharing, and capacity within Government departments and agencies. The Group’s Chair, Paul Walton (RSPB), was quoted in the Independent following publication of the report.

Government’s response to the report, published in January, is unsatisfactory. It is very light on detail and reiterates time and again commitments such as ‘maintaining the highest biosecurity standards whilst enabling frictionless trade’, with no examples of how it actually plans to achieve this. The Group is working with the Committee to ensure its, and our, recommendations are not ignored.

The Group is awaiting the outcome of the Government’s 2018 consultation on enforcement of the EU IAS Regulation, our response to which highlighted the need for an adequately resourced regime of effective and proportionate penalties.

INNS Group Chair, Paul Walton, and Link’s Policy and Campaigns Manager, Zoe Davies, recently met with Defra Minister, Lord Gardiner, to explore how Link can support Defra and the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat (GBNNSS) to encourage partnership working and harness the power of volunteers to tackle invasive non-native species on the ground. The Group is continuing conversations with the Minister and his officials on this important subject.

The Group continues to have a productive relationship with GBNNSS, providing advice and expertise to the Secretariat for effective implementation of the GB Non-Native Species Strategy and EU IAS Regulation. The Group is collaborating with the Secretariat on a project to improve biosecurity signage at nature reserves.

For further information, contact Zoe Davies, Link’s Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 28 February 2019