EU IAS Regulation

The EU Regulation (1143/2014) on invasive alien (non-native) species entered into force on 1 January 2015. The Regulation imposes restrictions on a list of species known as “species of Union concern”. These are species whose potential adverse impacts across the European Union are such that concerted action across Europe is required. This list is drawn up by the European Commission and managed with Member States using risk assessments and scientific evidence.

Article 24(1) of the regulation requires that Member States submit a report on implementation by 1 June 2019. The UK's report is available via the EEA website.

List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern

On 14 July 2016, the European Commission published Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/1141, which implements the list of species of Union concern, comprising 37 species (23 animals and 14 plants). The list came into force on 3 August 2016.

News: On 13 July 2017, the European Commission published Commission Implementing Regulation 2017/1263 which will add a further 12 species to the list of species of Union concern.

These species are:

  • Alopochen aegyptiacus, Egyptian goose
  • Nyctereutes procyonoides, Raccoon dog
  • Ondatra zibethicus, Muskrat
  • Alternanthera philoxeroides, Alligator weed
  • Asclepias syriaca, Milkweed
  • Elodea nuttallii, Nuttall's waterweed
  • Gunnera tinctoria, Chilean rhubarb
  • Hercleaum mantegazzianum, Giant hogweed
  • Impatiens glandulifera, Himalayan balsam
  • Microstegium vimineum, Japanese stiltgrass
  • Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Broadleaf watermilfoil
  • Pennisetum setaceum, Crimson fountaingrass
The associated restrictions and obligations came into force from 2 August 2017 for all these species apart from the Raccoon dog, where they came into force on 2 February 2019.

A general FAQ has been published by the Commission on its website.

brochure on the 49 species of Union concern is also available as well as baseline data on the original 37 species.

Risk assessments used to support the listing process can be found here.

How the Regulation works

The key decision-making body in the implementation of the Regulation is the Committee of Member States which is chaired by the European Commission. This Committee makes its decisions based on the qualified majority voting system. There is a Scientific Forum which provides advice to the Commission and the Committee, mainly on risk assessments, listing and derogations. There is also a working group of stakeholders.

More information on the working of the regulation can be found here:

View the Regulation here

Permits issued by the UK under the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation

Under Article 8 of the EU IAS Regulation the UK issues permits to carry out research on, or ex-situ conservation of, invasive alien species of Union concern. Where the use of products derived from invasive alien species of Union concern is unavoidable to advance human health, the UK may also include scientific production and subsequent medicinal use within their permit system. More detail on the permitting requirements can be found in the text of the regulation.

Permits are issued by the Animal and Plant Health Agency on behalf of Defra and the devolved administrations. For more details on how to apply for a permit please refer to GOV.UK.

Details on the permits issued between 2015-2018 can be found here.


The Regulation was first proposed by the EU Commission on September 9 2013.

The EU has been working towards the development of a Strategy on Invasive Alien (Non-native) Species since 2008. This Strategy took into account the Review of the EU Common Plant Health Regime and the Animal Health Strategy, the Commission's new strategy to protect and improve the state of Europe's biodiversity. This Biodiversity strategy includes six targets one of which relates to invasive alien species (IAS).

  • Target 5- To control invasive alien species (IAS): By 2020, Invasive Alien Species and their pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species controlled or eradicated, and pathways are managed to prevent the introduction and establishment of new IAS. Relevant actions include:Action 15: Strengthen the EU Plant and Animal Health Regimes - The Commission will integrate additional biodiversity concerns into the Plant and Animal Health regimes by 2012.Action 16: Establish a dedicated instrument on Invasive Alien Species - The Commission will fill policy gaps in combating IAS by developing a dedicated legislative instrument by 2012.

The following presentation provides a good summary of this work - Towards an EU Strategy on Inavsive Alien Species.

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