Rapid Response Working Group

The Rapid Response Working Group was set up in February 2008. The main aim of the Working Group was to draft for the Programme Board, a protocol on establishing a clear process for implementing rapid responses against invasive non-native species in Great Britain. Chair of the Working Group was Huw Thomas (Defra) and secretary was Niall Moore (Head of the Non-native Species Secretariat). Full membership of the Working Group is listed below.

Membership of the Rapid Response Working Group included representatives from:

  • CEFAS
  • Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency
  • National Resources Wales
  • Defra
  • Environment Agency
  • Fisheries Research Services
  • Forrestry Commission
  • Joint nature Conservation Committee
  • Natural England
  • Non-native Species Secretariat
  • NW & NWSFC
  • Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate
  • Scottish Environmental Protection Agency
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • Welsh Assembly Government


Terms of Reference:

  • To establish a common understanding of the existing invasive non-native species responsibilities of relevant bodies, especially as regards the potential for implementing rapid response;
  • To define the potential role of a rapid response lead body or entity;
  • To establish a rationale or guiding principles for clearly designating the most appropriate rapid response lead body in different circumstances;
  • To describe a process by which rapid response could be implemented, including consideration of:
    • significant gaps in remits and decision-making ability;
    • legal authority and obstacles and possible temporary solutions;
    • cross border issues;
    • clear lines of communication;
    • investigation of access issues; and,
    • interaction with other bodies such as NGOs, land-owners, local groups; (e.g. to assist with rapid response or site monitoring for re-emergence);
  • To explore the currently available resources and existing capacity within government relevant to rapid response – human, monetary, equipment etc.;
  • To identify potential non-government capacity (e.g. contractors, specialist services or organisations etc);
  • To consider the scope for funding options (inc. contingency arrangements within existing budgets);
  • To identify and advise the Programme Board of significant resource gaps and risks as regards future rapid response capacity;
  • To scope a general contingency plan to include risk assessment, mechanisms for flow of information and a protocol for rapid approval of emergency action.

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark