About RAPID

A holistic approach to Invasive Alien Species management in freshwater aquatic, riparian and coastal ecosystems across England

Globally, invasive species are considered to be one of the most significant causes of biodiversity loss, second only to habitat destruction. The economic impacts are also severe, with an estimated annual cost of at least 12 billion Euros across Europe including a cost of 1.7 billion pounds to the British economy. Freshwater and marine habitats are particularly vulnerable because of interconnectivity and widespread use for recreation and business.

RAPID LIFE is a three-year project (2017-2020) piloting innovative approaches to IAS management in freshwater aquatic, riparian and coastal environments across England. The project has two strands: one strand engages regional stakeholders in the production and implementation of five Regional IAS Management Plans (RIMPS) delivering consistent, regionally tailored prevention, early warning, rapid response, eradication and control of IAS throughout England. A second phase will produce awareness raising materials and training toolkits for water resource managers and user groups along with materials to improve uptake of biosecurity to slow the spread and prevent introduction of new IAS in regions.

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Aims and Objectives

The aim of the RAPID LIFE project is to:

Protect freshwater aquatic, riparian and coastal biodiversity by embedding a coordinated, strategic and evidence-based approach to managing Invasive Alien Species (IAS) across England whilst demonstrating the efficacy of this approach for replication across Europe.

Specific objectives are:

1. Establish a regionally-based framework across England to deliver more effective management based on Regional IAS Management Plans.
2. Prevent the introduction of novel IAS to the project’s target environments by increasing biosecurity awareness amongst target audiences through a coordinated programme of engagement.
3. Increase awareness and efficacy of GB-level and local level early warning and rapid response systems and protocols within England.
4. Eradicate and/or control established IAS in high-priority areas whilst demonstrating strategic and best practice approaches.
5. Disseminate the exemplar approach throughout European and international networks.

RAPID LIFE is led by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in partnership with Natural England and Bristol Zoological Society and supported by a number of further technical partners.

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