Archived News

Species Control Provisions: Code of Practice for England

17 July 2017

Species Control Provisions: Code of Practice for England
On 17 July, Defra published its “Species Control Provisions: Code of Practice for England” which sets out how the provisions for species control agreements and orders contained in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 should be applied by environmental authorities. These powers ensure that, in appropriate circumstances, landowners take action on invasive non-native species or permit others to enter the land and carry out those operations, to prevent their establishment and spread.

Download a copy here.

New Non-native species job: Non-native Species Specialist

11 July 2017

New Non-native species job: Non-native Species Specialist
Non-native Species Specialist
Animal and Plant Health Agency
£28,040 pa - £31,680 pa
Sand Hutton, York
Permanent

The Non-native species specialist will provide technical guidance and delivery support primarily to UK Government in delivery of domestic policy on invasive non-native species (INNS) and its obligations under existing European Union Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. The post holder will be responsible for growing and managing a portfolio of projects within the National Wildlife Management Centre on non-native species and their management. This will range from research into risks posed by non-native species and management of those risks, through to delivery of invasive plant and animal control projects within the UK and overseas.

Initially the job will focus on delivering the RAPID LIFE project, which aims to establish a new strategic framework to enhance management of INNS across England. This will involve working with locally-based stakeholders to coordinate efforts to maximise the impact of the project and to meet the targets included in the GB INNS strategy.

To apply, please visit https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1547849

Closing date: 28 July 2017

New tools to combat invasive species

04 May 2017

New tools to combat invasive species
The Associated Press have released an article and video on innovative new tools being developed to combat invasive species including lionfish, brown tree snake and Asian carp.

Read the article and see the video here.

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter available

04 May 2017

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter available
The latest issue of the Marine Pathways Project newsletter is now available, download a copy here. Visit the Marine Pathways Group webpages for more information.

It's Invasive Species Week 2017

27 March 2017

It's Invasive Species Week 2017

From March 27 – April 2 organisations across Britain are coming together for Invasive Species Week, to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and inspire people to take action to prevent their spread. Visit the website www.nonnativespecies.org/invasivespeciesweek for more information and to #getINNSvolved!

Follow Invasive Species Week on social media by keeping an eye on @CheckCleanDryGB and #InvasivesWeek.


Innovative new app for Asian Hornet sightings

27 March 2017

Innovative new app for Asian Hornet sightings
The nation’s smartphones are the latest weapon in the fight to prevent the spread of the Asian hornet, thanks to a new app which has been launched today.

People will be able to use the free app - called Asian hornet watch - to quickly and easily report possible sightings of the invasive species and send pictures of suspect insects to experts at the National Bee Unit.

Download Asian hornet water for android or  iPhone here.

While Asian hornets pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, they are a threat to our native honey bees, which is why it is important to quickly contain them.

By using the eyes and ears of smartphone users, we can more quickly identify any Asian hornet nests in the UK and eradicate them before they have the opportunity to spread.

Biosecurity Minister Lord Gardiner said:

“This innovative new app is designed to be easy to use and allows people to report quickly any possible sightings of Asian hornets, which will help us to halt their spread.

This invasive species poses a threat to our native honey bees and we must do all we can to encourage vigilance - this new technology will advance this.”

The interactive app, developed by the Great Britain Non-native Species Secretariat and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, will also make it easier for people to judge whether an insect may actually be an Asian hornet; with pictures available of other insects that it could be confused with and helpful information about their size, appearance and the times of year they are most likely to be spotted.

If there is a sighting of the Asian hornet, the government’s well established protocol for eradicating the species will kick quickly into action: This was the case in Gloucestershire last Autumn, when bee inspectors rapidly tracked down and destroyed an Asian hornet nest, containing any further outbreak: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-outbreak-contained-in-gloucestershire-and-somerset

There are fears the pest could reappear this spring, so members of the public are being urged to report any sightings quickly to again allow inspectors to intervene. Asian hornets can be distinguished from their native counterparts by their abdomens, which are entirely dark except for a single band of yellow – native hornets’ abdomens are predominantly yellow.

Martin Smith, Public Affairs Manager at the British Beekeepers’ Association, said:

"This new app launched today by Defra is a welcome addition to current reporting methods that have enabled beekeepers and members of the public to report possible sightings. The key to containment is catching outbreaks as early as possible and allowing fast tracking of the insects back to their nest. We will certainly be encouraging all our 25,000 beekeepers to install the app and use it if they see what might be an Asian hornet near their hives."

Asian hornets arrived in France in 2004 and have since spread across large areas of Western Europe. It was discovered for the first time in the British Isles in Jersey and Alderney last summer.
The native European hornet is a valued and important part of our wildlife, and queens and nests of this species should not be destroyed.

Marine INNS Technical Advisor job available

14 March 2017

Marine INNS Technical Advisor job available
Natural Resources Wales are looking for a Marine Invasive Non-native Species Technical Advisor. More details on this 9 month post can be found on the Natural Resources Wales website.

Please note, the closing date for applications is Monday 20 March 2017

Gough Island job opportunities - field assistant and senior field assistant

06 February 2017

Gough Island job opportunities - field assistant and senior field assistant
The RSPB is recruiting two Field Assistants and a Senior Field Assistant to carry out eradication of Sagina procumbens, seabird monitoring, and other fieldwork on Gough Island. All three posts will be for a period of 16 months, consisting of approximately two months pre-deployment training, 13 months deployment on Gough and one month of demobilisation and debriefing from Gough.

Visit the website for more information on the roles:
Field Assistant
Senior Field Assistant

Starting date for these positions can not be any later that the 3rd July 2017 due to pre-deployment training requirements.

Closing date for applications: 28 February

New Marine Mathways Project newsletter

27 January 2017

New Marine Mathways Project newsletter
The latest edition of the Marine Pathways Project newsletter is now available, download a copy here.

New Forest Non-native Plants Project Steering Group report

26 January 2017

New Forest Non-native Plants Project Steering Group report
The latest edition of the New Forest Non-native Plants Project Steering Group report is now available, download it here

Update on CABI weed biocontrol projects

19 January 2017

Update on CABI weed biocontrol projects
CABI have published an update on their weed biocontrol projects, download it here.

UK Government makes commitment towards achieving the Honolulu Challenge

21 December 2016

UK Government makes commitment towards achieving the Honolulu Challenge
The UK Government commits to spending £2.75 million on assisting its Overseas Territories to develop comprehensive biosecurity for invasive non-native species as well as making a substantial contribution to the eradication of mice from Gough Island to save the critically endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting as well as other threatened species.

Specifically, this involves a commitment of £1 million towards developing comprehensive biosecurity for the Overseas Territories by providing them with access to UK expertise on risk analysis, pathway management, pest identification, horizon scanning, contingency planning, rapid response capability and species management. The Government also commits to making a £1.75 million contribution to the eradication of mice from Gough Island to save the critically endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting as well as other threatened species on the World Heritage site.

Read more about the Honolulu challenge here: https://www.iucn.org/theme/species/our-work/invasive-species/honolulu-challenge-invasive-alien-species/commitments

New invasive species executive order signed by President Obama

12 December 2016

New invasive species executive order signed by President Obama

President Obama has signed a new executive order - Safeguarding the Nation from the Impacts of Invasive Species (Dec 5, 2016).

This order amends Executive Order 13112 and directs actions to continue coordinated Federal prevention and control efforts related to invasive species. This order:

  • maintains the National Invasive Species Council (Council) and the Invasive Species Advisory Committee
  • expands the membership of the Council
  • clarifies the operations of the Council
  • incorporates considerations of human and environmental health, climate change, technological innovation, and other emerging priorities into Federal efforts to address invasive species
  • strengthens coordinated, cost-efficient Federal action
For more information and to view the Executive Order visit the White House website.

PhD opportunity

01 December 2016

PhD opportunity
New fully funded PhD opportunity at the University of Aberdeen. Title - Population connectivity of native and invasive species in the Fens: what are appropriate habitats for conservation?

For more information visit the website. Deadline for applications is 31 January 2017.

New Environment Agency Biosecurity Newsletter

28 November 2016

New Environment Agency Biosecurity Newsletter
The Autumn edition of the Environment Agency's Biosecurity News is now available. Click here to download a copy.

Biosecurity e-learning for University field staff

17 November 2016

Biosecurity e-learning for University field staff
The University of Leeds have developed a version of the Biosecurity e-learning for use by anyone carrying out field work as part of their research.

For more information and to take this module, visit their website.

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter

11 November 2016

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter
The latest edition of the Marine Pathways Project newsletter is now available. Download a copy here and find out more about the project here.

Terrestrial INNS Advisor Post secondment opportunity

07 November 2016

Terrestrial INNS Advisor Post secondment opportunity
A Terrestrial INNS Advisor secondment opportunity is available within Natural Resources Wales.

From Natural Resources Wales:

The GB Invasive Non Native Species Strategy and EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Regulation place new obligations in Wales on Welsh Government and NRW reflecting a step-change in approach needed to tackle the growing threat posed by Invasive Non Native Species (INNS). The Natural Resources (NR) Department has a key role in ensuring relevant legislation and GB and Wales Government INNS objectives are supported and implemented through clear and well governed programmes or actions within NRW and with or by partners.

The post holders will work with strategy leads, other teams or experts across NRW and elsewhere, providing INNS technical advice within the context of Sustainable Natural Resource Management (SNMR). The roles will work closely with others to enable priority INNS action delivery and good practice development and implementation including biosecurity. The post holders will work collaboratively in providing technical advice to help deliver more co-ordinated action, montoring and data gathering and good practice implementation as appropriate.


For more information download the job description in English and  Welsh and visit the website to apply.
Closing date for applications is the 18th of November 2016.

The Honolulu Challenge on Invasive Alien Species

07 November 2016

The Honolulu Challenge on Invasive Alien Species
During the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, there has been a call from the Union and the host community in Hawaii, including experts, governmental and intergovernmental representatives, NGOs, and protected area managers for greater action on addressing invasive alien species in order to protect biodiversity and human wellbeing from their impacts.

Find out more about the Honolulu Challenge and its recommendations on the IUCN website.

Asian hornet identified in Somerset

04 October 2016

Asian hornet identified in Somerset

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet north of the Mendip Hills in Somerset.

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which will include:

  • setting up a three mile surveillance zone around the location of the initial sighting
  • opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
  • deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests
  • readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:

“We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and are implementing our well-established protocol to eradicate them and control their spread.

“It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.

“We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.”

The first Asian hornet confirmed in the UK was discovered in the Tetbury area. A nest in the area has since been found, treated with pesticide and destroyed. Nofurther live Asian hornets have been sighted in the area since the nest was removed.

Bee inspectors in Somerset will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.

The Asian hornet arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe. It was discovered for the first time in Jersey and Alderney this summer. It is believed the species will not be able survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.


Asian hornet nest found and destroyed

30 September 2016

Asian hornet nest found and destroyed
From the National Bee Unit:

An Asian hornet nest has been located and destroyed by experts in the Tetbury area. The nest was found at the top of a 55 foot tall conifer tree. Inspectors from the National Bee Unit are continuing to monitor the area for Asian hornets alongside local beekeepers. However to date, no live hornets have been seen since the nest was removed.

Images are available here: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/public/News/news.cfm#176

We urge anyone to report suspect Asian hornet sightings to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk .

Further guidance on the Asian hornet can be found on the Asian hornet pages of Beebase where you will find a very useful Asian hornet ID sheet sheet and Asian hornet poster which is available for identification purposes.


Asian hornet identified in Gloucestershire

20 September 2016

Asian hornet identified in Gloucestershire

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire – the first time the hornet has been discovered in the UK.

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes:

  • setting up a 3 mile surveillance zone around Tetbury
  • opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
  • deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests
  • readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:

We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.

It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.

We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.”

A local control centre will be opened tomorrow near Tetbury and bee inspectors from around England will be closely monitoring a three mile radius around the initial sighting.

They will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.

The hornet found in Tetbury is currently undergoing DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.

The hornet arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe. It was discovered for the first time in Jersey and Alderney this summer. It is believed the species will not be able survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.


Ballast Water Convention reaches threshold

08 September 2016

Ballast Water Convention reaches threshold
The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) will enter into force on 8 September 2017, having reached the ratification threshold today. Under the Convention’s terms, ships will be required to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.

For more information visit the International Maritime Organization's website

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter available

22 August 2016

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter available
The latest Marine Pathways Project newsletter is now available, download it here. For more information on the project visit the webpages.

No more rats: New Zealand to exterminate all introduced predators

25 July 2016

No more rats: New Zealand to exterminate all introduced predators

The New Zealand government has announced a “world-first” project to make the nation predator free by 2050.

The prime minister, John Key, said on Monday it would undertake a radical pest extermination programme – which if successful would be a global first – aiming to wipe out the introduced species of rats, stoats and possums nation-wide in a mere 34 years.

According to the government, introduced species kill 25m native New Zealand birds a year including the iconic ground-dwelling, flightless Kiwi, which die at a rate of 20 a week, and now number fewer than 70,000.

The government estimates the cost of introduced species to the New Zealand economy and primary sector to be NZ$3.3bn (£1.76bn) a year.

Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums,” said Key in a statement.

This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe if we all work together as a country we can achieve it.

Existing pest control methods in New Zealand include the controversial and widespread use of 1080 aerial poison drops, trapping and ground baiting, and possum hunting by ground hunters (possum fur has become a vibrant industry in New Zealand, and is used for winter clothing).

Emeritus Professor of Conservation Mick Clout from the University of Auckland said he was “excited” by the “ambitious plan” which if achieved would be a “remarkable world first”.

Even the intention of making New Zealand predator free is hugely significant and now it has money and the government behind it I believe it is possible, I am actually very excited,” said Clout.

The biggest challenge will be the rats and mice in urban areas. For this project to work it will need the urban communities to get on board. Possum extermination will be the easiest because they only breed once a year and there are already effective control methods in place.”

Find out more on this story here


Check Clean Dry - don't bring back invasive species and diseases from abroad

16 July 2016

Check Clean Dry - don't bring back invasive species and diseases from abroad

If you're off in search of sunny weather and new waters this summer remember to Check, Clean, Dry to make sure you don't bring back any hitchhikers!

Invasive non-native species can kill fish, damage boat engines and props, block up waterways and make navigation and paddling difficult. As a water user you may unknowingly be spreading them from one water body to another. Animals, eggs, larvae and tiny plant fragments can easily be carried on equipment, shoes and clothing, and some can survive out of water in damp conditions for over two weeks.

Once established in a new waterbody, invasive species can become unmanageable. You can help to protect the sport you love by remembering to Check, Clean, Dry your clothing and equipment when you leave the water. If you're heading abroad it's even more important to Check, Clean, Dry while you're away or you could bring back a new invasive species or disease.

  • Check your equipment, clothing and footwear
  • Clean everything thoroughly before you return, use hot water where possible
  • Dry everything as some species can live for over two weeks in damp conditions

For more information visit www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry or follow the campaign on Twitter @CheckCleanDryGB


First list of IAS of Union Concern published by European Commission

14 July 2016

First list of IAS of Union Concern published by European Commission
On 14 July the European Commission published Commission Implementing Regulation 2016/1141, which implements the first list of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern, comprising 37 species (23 animals and 14 plants). The list will come into force on 3 August 2016. In addition to the general FAQ which the Commission has published on its website, the UK has also produced its own FAQ for UK stakeholders which can be found here.

More information about the EU Regulation can be found on our webpages here.

American skunk cabbage on Countryfile

25 May 2016

American skunk cabbage on Countryfile
Watch Countryfile Spring Diaries for a great feature on American skunk cabbage. Coverage starts at 2 mins 40, view the programme here.

New non-native species job vacancies

17 May 2016

New non-native species job vacancies
Research Assistants (2 positions) and Senior Research Assistant (1 position) for island restoration on Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha, South Atlantic Ocean

A long-running research and conservation management project requires three people to work on Gough Island in the central South Atlantic Ocean for 13 months, with an additional month for training prior to departure. These contract positions are designed primarily to conduct annual monitoring of breeding seabirds (2 positions), and control an invasive plant, Sagina procumbens (1 position, although all staff will take part in all activities and will be trained in rope access).

The seabird monitoring positions are responsible for annual monitoring of breeding success, survival, population counts, and other field work for 14 breeding species throughout the entire year.

The Sagina position is responsible for control and eradication work on Sagina from the steep cliffs adjacent to the weather station on Gough Island. If required, training in rope-access techniques (IRATA level 1 or equivalent) will be provided prior to departure to Gough Island for team members.

The candidates will be joining and living with the South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) over-wintering team of 8-9 people, and will also be required to work within the requirements of SANAP’s over-wintering teams. It will be an asset if the post holders have prior experience of working with one or more other team members.

Requirements–Monitoring (2 positions)
The successful applicants should have experience in:
  • Bird banding/ringing, safe handling of birds
  • Conducting surveys and censuses for breeding seabirds
  • Managing large amounts of data
  • Abseil rope-access techniques, and/or climbing experience
  • Undertaking fieldwork in a mountainous environment and inclement weather conditions
Additional skills that would benefit a candidate include
  • Banding/ringing permit
  • Blood sampling, attaching biologging devices
  • Post-graduate research degree
Requirements – Sagina eradication (1 position)
The successful applicants should have experience in:
  • Abseil rope-access techniques, and/or climbing experience
  • Undertaking fieldwork in a mountainous environment and inclement weather conditions
  • Working on remote islands (or equivalent remote locations)
  • Undertaking plant eradication projects and firm understanding of eradication principles.
Additional skills that would benefit a candidate include
  • Alien plant eradication techniques
Requirements – all positions
Applicants must demonstrate
  • An ability to live and work in a very small team on one of the world’s most remote islands for a prolonged period
  • High levels of physical fitness, adaptability and a strong work ethic
  • Aptitude and/or proven experience in successfully undertaking unsupervised fieldwork, with safety as a first priority.
The successful applications will have skills/qualifications in:
  • A degree or equivalent qualifications or experience in a science/conservation discipline, ideally with some work experience in conservation/wildlife related fieldwork and research
Details of the jobs
  • Conduct fieldwork according to a work-plan devised by the project managers
  • Assist biological research, Sagina control, fieldwork and monitoring as required
  • Make day-to-day decisions about work priorities and fieldwork protocols
  • Maintain accurate records of the work and computer databases of the work
  • Regularly report to & update the project managers on progress
  • Be responsible for data quality & reporting, and on-site training as needed (Senior Research Assistant only)
Salary: £16,000 - £18,000 (Research Assistant), £19,000 - £21,000 (Senior Research Assistant) per annum, plus transport, food, and accommodation.

Starting date: 04 July 2016 – 25 October 2017

Please note, due to the preparation requirements needed for training, the start date is fixed.

Employer: Tristan da Cunha Conservation Department

How to apply: Send a cover letter outlining your experience and qualifications, CV, and contact information (including telephone numbers) for 3 references as a single PDF document to John Kelly (john.kelly@rspb.org.uk) by midnight BST on 31 May 2016.

Interview date (by Skype or in-person): TBC.

New Marine Pathways Project Newsletter

05 May 2016

New Marine Pathways Project Newsletter
The latest edition of the Marine Pathways Project newsletter is now available to download here. For more on the Project, visit the webpages.  

Were you involved with Invasive Species Week?

17 March 2016

Were you involved with Invasive Species Week?
From 29 February to 6 March 2016, organisations across Britain came together to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and inspire people to #getINNSvolved and stop the spread. Check out highlights of their achievements here!



It's Invasive Species Week!

29 February 2016

It's Invasive Species Week!
From 29 February - 6 March 2016 organisations across Britain are working together to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and prevent their spread. Find out what’s going on and how to get involved, and keep up to date on Twitter by searching for #InvasivesWeek and following @CheckCleanDryGB.

Bird population on Scilly Isles recovers after islands are declared 'rat-free'

15 February 2016

Bird population on Scilly Isles recovers after islands are declared 'rat-free'
Project to eradicate non-native brown rats that feed on eggs and chicks on St Agnes and Gugh is declared a success

A project to protect breeding seabirds from invasive rats on the Scilly Isles has been a success with the two islands declared “rat-free”.

Bird populations on St Agnes and Gugh, linked by a sand bar, are starting to recover after a quarter century of year-on-year declines following work to eradicate the non-native brown rats which were feeding on eggs and chicks, conservationists said.

They are thought to have first colonised the islands in the 18th century following several shipwrecks and grew to a population that was harmful to birds such as European storm-petrels (Hydrobates pelagicus) and Manx shearwaters (Puffinus puffinus), which have been in decline since the 1980s.

Local volunteers and conservationists began work in 2013 on a project to monitor rat activity on the island, followed by an intensive programme of baiting and poisoning for a month in the winter. No rats have been spotted since November 2013, and after a thorough month-long inspection at the beginning of this year the islands have been declared officially “rat-free”.

Since the removal of the rats, both Manx shearwaters and European storm-petrels are successfully breeding on the islands for the first time in living memory, conservationists said, with more than 40 chicks recorded on the islands in the last two years. ….

Find out more here  

Invasive non-native species: draft code of practice for the use of species control provisions in Wales

13 January 2016

Invasive non-native species: draft code of practice for the use of species control provisions in Wales
Welsh Government is seeking your views on the draft code of practice setting out how species control provisions will be used in Wales.

The english language consultation is being held on: http://gov.wales/consultations/environmentandcountryside/code-of-practice-species-contol/?lang=en.

The welsh language consultation is being held on: http://gov.wales/consultations/environmentandcountryside/code-of-practice-species-contol/?lang=cy.

This consultation closes on 5 April 2016.

From the Welsh Government:

We would want to know your thoughts about our draft code of practice which sets out how new controls on invasive non-native species are used in Wales. The Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales have got new powers known as species control provisions. These new powers allow the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to require owners to take action against invasive non-native species. If an owner has refused to act or allow access, it also allows the Welsh Government or Natural Resources Wales to take action.

Invasive non-native species: draft code of practice for the use of species control provisions in England

07 January 2016

Invasive non-native species: draft code of practice for the use of species control provisions in England
Defra are seeking views on the draft code of practice setting out how species control provisions will be used in England.

This consultation is being held on another website

This consultation closes at 28 February 2016 12:00am

From Defra:

We want to know your thoughts about our draft code of practice which sets out how we’ll use new controls on invasive non-native species.  We’ve got new powers - known as species control provisions - which allow Defra and its agencies to require owners to take action against invasive non-native species. If an owner has refused to act or allow access, it also allows us to take action.



PhD opportunities in prevention, control and eradication of invasive species!

06 January 2016

PhD opportunities in prevention, control and eradication of invasive species!
Two PhD studentships are available as part of a new Irish EPA funded three-year project led by Institute of Technology, Sligo and partnered with Queen's University Belfast and INVAS Biosecurity, to tackle IAS problems with multiple approaches. Students will join a range of research projects on invasive species being conducted by these partners to tackle IAS problems with multiple approaches. Each PhD will benefit from research and training in a truly inter-disciplinary environment with further opportunities to collaborate with ecologists, engineers, geographers, sociologists, state agencies, government and regulators, industry stakeholders and local communities.

One PhD will be based at IT Sligo and the other in QUB. Applications can be made to one or both of these PhDs before January 22nd 2016.

PhD 1

Institution: CERIS Research Centre, Institute of Technology, Sligo

Supervisors: Dr. Frances Lucy (IT Sligo), Prof. Jaimie Dick (QUB) and Dr. Joe Caffrey (INVAS Biosecurity,Ltd.)

This PhD student will: (1) address systematic reviews and horizon scans of IAS issues in general and within Ireland in particular; and (2) develop communications for prevention, control and eradication of IAS. Further, the student will examine and develop IAS biosecurity protocols (e.g. surveys of vectors, IAS signage) at points of entry (e.g. ports) and, in the field, develop herbicide/adjuvant control methods for the invasive terrestrial plant, Winter heliotrope, Petasites fragrans.

Application: Submit a CV and Letter of Motivation by January 22 at 5pm to Dr Frances Lucy lucy.frances@itsligo.ie

Funding: This fully funded 3-year PhD studentship pays IT Sligo fees plus a stipend of Euro 16,000 per annum. Applicants must have a BSc and/or MSc in Environmental Science, Ecology (or similar discipline).

PhD 2

Institution: School of Biological Sciences, Queens University Belfast

Supervisors: Prof. Jaimie Dick (QUB), Dr. Frances Lucy (IT Sligo) and Dr. Joe Caffrey (INVAS Biosecurity,Ltd.)

This PhD student will address: (1) systematic reviews and horizon scans of IAS issues in general and within Ireland in particular; (2) development of communications for prevention, control and eradication of IAS. Further, the student will develop biosecurity protocols with disinfectants, such as Virkon, using ecotoxicological methods and, in the laboratory and field, develop control and eradication methods for the invasive Asian clam, Corbicula fluminea (e.g. based on dry ice application).

Application: http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=69924. Prospective applicants may contact the lead supervisor, Prof Jaimie Dick at j.dick@qub.ac.uk.

Funding: This fully funded 3-year PhD studentship pays UK University tuition fees (currently £4,052 per annum) and stipend of £14,057stg per annum. Applicants must have a BSc and/or MSc in Ecology (or similar discipline), or equivalent qualifications.


Date announced for ICUP 2017 conference

06 January 2016

Date announced for ICUP 2017 conference
Held once every three years, the dates and details for the next International Conference on Urban Pests (ICUP) have been announced by the organisers.

The conference is, once again, being held in Europe and will take place on 9 – 12 July 2017. The venue is Conference Aston, which is based on the University of Aston campus in central Birmingham, UK.

This highly popular, non-profit, conference is the leading international forum for sharing information and ideas on the impact, biology and control of pests in the urban environment. It is attended by entomologists, pest management professionals, and academic and government scientists from around the world.

The 2017 organising team, chaired by Dr Matthew Davies from Killgerm has been working hard developing, what promises to be, another first-class programme for the 2017 conference. This will be the second time a member of Killgerm’s staff has acted as chairman. Professor Moray Anderson fulfilled this role at the second ICUP event held in 1996 in Edinburgh.

Explains the 2017 conference chairman, Dr Davies: “The conference programme will address the science and management of a wide variety of urban pests, including coverage of hygiene, structural, medical and vertebrate pests. In particular, we want to address the importance of emerging environments and how they are impacting on emerging pests that are both ‘old’ and ‘new’ to us.

“We are especially keen to see interaction between a new generation of researchers and established contributors. Of course, no event of this standing would be complete without sessions looking at the future direction for urban pest control as well as the impacts of regulatory and stewardship challenges.”

In addition to the main conference sessions, there will be break-out sessions as well as the ever popular conference dinner.

Delegate registration is expected to start in spring 2016. Details on how to offer a paper for consideration by the organising committee will be announced in early summer 2016. As before, the official language of the conference is English.

To accompany the release of the 2017 dates is the new ICUP logo. Up until now each of the ICUP conferences has had its own individual logo. As ICUP executive committee member, Clive Boase, explained: “It’s more than 20 years since the very first ICUP conference was held in Cambridge. Since then the event has developed its own identity and has come to be universally recognised as an international forum where scientists can gather, present their latest research findings and freely exchange information in an informal and purely technical environment. Both I and Dr Bill Robinson, my fellow ICUP executive committee member, felt the time had come to create an identity for ICUP itself. Our new logo is straightforward and can easily be modified for each event every three years.”

The conference website is in development and further details will be announced as events progress. The central ICUP website is www.icup.org.uk where interested parties can view all presentations from the previous conferences.

This will be the ninth in the series of ICUP conferences. The previous conferences have been held in Cambridge, England (1993), Edinburgh, Scotland (1996) Prague, Czech Republic (1999), Charleston, USA (2002), Singapore (2005) Budapest, Hungary (2008), Ouro Preto, Brazil (2011) and Zurich, Switzerland (2014).


PhD: Better biosecurity to slow the spread of invasive non-native species

12 December 2015

PhD: Better biosecurity to slow the spread of invasive non-native species
PhD opportunity available at the University of Leeds.

Supervisors: Dr Alison Dunn, School of Biology, Dr Claire Quinn, Sustainability Research Institute & Trevor Renals, Environment Agency (CASE Partner)

For further details see http://www.nercdtp.leeds.ac.uk/projects/index.php?id=251

Apply at http://www.nercdtp.leeds.ac.uk/how-to-apply/

NERC CASE studentship with the Environment Agency. This studentship is directly funded by NERC and the Environment Agency. The student will join the cohort of students within the Leeds-York NERC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP).

Closing date 11 Jan

Marine Biosecurity Planning Guidance for Wales and England now available.

07 December 2015

Marine Biosecurity Planning Guidance for Wales and England now available.
Marine Biosecurity Planning Guidance for Wales and England has been published by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

Download the guidance here.

For more information on marine biosecurity, visit the Marine Pathways Project webpages.

New Defra report: Assessing the achievements of Local Action Groups in tackling invasive non-native species

30 November 2015

New Defra report: Assessing the achievements of Local Action Groups in tackling invasive non-native species
Over the last four years Defra has funded 29 Local Action Groups across England to tackle invasive non-native species in and around watercourses to reduce impacts on local communities, protect native biodiversity and reduce the cost to our economy. This report presents a summary of overall achievements of the funding, highlights successes and blockages to progress and makes recommendations as to what is required to achieve long term sustainability of these Groups.

Defra is publishing the report so that Local Action Groups have an objective evidence base to demonstrate how they can provide local, cost effective solutions to the management of harmful non-native species in the future.

Download a copy of the report here

Protecting Cumbria's waters: biosecurity at Keswick Mountain Festival

27 November 2015

Protecting Cumbria's waters: biosecurity at Keswick Mountain Festival

At the Keswick Mountain Festival this summer, the Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-native Species Initiative was on hand to ensure that trialthon competitors were following Check Clean Dry to prevent the spread of invasive non-native species.

Check out this video for some lovely countryside and great biosecurity!


Latest EA newsletter on non-native species now available!

27 November 2015

Latest EA newsletter on non-native species now available!

Download the latest edition of the Environment Agency's non-native species newsletter.


Saving Round Pond: The Source to Sea Project takes on creeping water primrose

26 November 2015

Saving Round Pond: The Source to Sea Project takes on creeping water primrose
Six years after the discovery of creeping water primrose at Round Pond, Breamore Marsh, Jo Gore from the Source to Sea Project has described the work they have undertaken to remove this plant.

Find out more about this work here and more information on the Source to Sea Project here.

Latest Henderson Island newsletter now available

17 November 2015

Latest Henderson Island newsletter now available
Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands, UK Overseas Territory, is home to over 50 endemic species. Several hundred years ago Pacific rats were introduced to the island, harming many of the native species.


Download the RSPB's Henderson Island newsletter here to find out more about their recent six month expedition to the Island to look into the extent of the problem. For more information on the Pitcairn Islands, click here.

Alien futures horizon scanning survey: call for participants

13 November 2015

Alien futures horizon scanning survey: call for participants
From the project team:

Alien Futures is a new research project collecting and examining issues that may affect the future global and local management of biological invasions. Horizon scanning is the systematic examination of future potential threats, opportunities and likely future developments. Some horizon scanning activities have already been undertaken about invasive species, for example focusing on high risk species (e.g. Roy et al. 2014), specific habitats (Ojaveer et al. 2014), or general issues within European invasion science (e.g. Caffrey et al. 2014).

This project aims to complement these existing activities by exploring the wider environmental, social and technological issues external to invasion ecology that may have implications for the future management of invasive species. During the first phase of the project, we are gathering opinions on the global and local issues that might affect the management of biological invasions in the next 20 – 50 years. We want to explore issues that may emerge and have implications in a more distant future than currently considered in the management of biological invasions. These can be issues which might have positive or negative implications.

We invite people working with or interested in biological invasions to fill in a survey on our website. To find out more, and fill in the survey, please visit www.alienfutures.org. We encourage you to think creatively beyond the time frame of your current work!

We would also be very grateful if you could forward this email to colleagues or groups who may be interested in contributing. Please copy in info@alienfutures.org.

The survey also includes some questions about your background and your interest in biological invasions. It does not gather personally identifiable information unless you provide us with an email address in order to hear about project outputs. All of the issues identified will be published online in an open-access format, so please do not include any details that you would not wish to be published.

Project outputs will include a long list of global issues, a long list of local issues and a shortlist of global issues. We will make the data available for use and further research, with workshops planned to explore the implications of these issues for policy and management.

Follow the progress of the project on the website www.alienfutures.org or on Twitter @alienfutures #alienfutures.

Latest Marine Pathways Project newsletter now available

02 November 2015

Latest Marine Pathways Project newsletter now available
The eighth Marine Pathways Project newsletter is now available.

Download a copy, or visit the website to find previous editions and find out more about the project.

Check Clean Dry on ITV News

09 October 2015

Check Clean Dry on ITV News
Check out Bekka Corrie-Close from the Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-native Species Initiative (CFINNS) speaking to ITV News about the invasive species threatening Cumbria’s waterways, and how important it is to follow Check Clean Dry to prevent them from spreading.

Watch the footage here.

Well done Bekka!

Finf out more about CFINNS and Check Clean Dry here.

Overseas territories job opportunity

07 October 2015

Overseas territories job opportunity
The Ascencion Island Government is currently recruiting for a new short-term consultancy opportunity.

Ascension Island already has one of the world’s most heavily invaded terrestrial ecosystems with more than 90% of higher plants and at least 70% of invertebrates believed to have been introduced. The Territory also has no commercial farming or forestry sectors to provide economic incentives for developing biosecurity policies. These two factors have undoubtedly contributed to limited progress and a lack of urgency in advancing biosecurity.

Nevertheless, there is a recognized need to rectify this situation. Ascension still has invaluable natural capital in the form of regionally-important seabird and sea turtle nesting populations, numerous endemic plant and invertebrate species and a near-pristine marine environment, which contribute to global biodiversity and attract a number of tourists to the island each year. The development of a “focused biosecurity action plan that identifies and addresses key threats to marine and terrestrial ecosystems” is a key objective under the National Biodiversity Action Plan.

The purpose of this consultancy is to critically review the existing situation, identify high risk pathways and species, and make practical recommendations for reducing identified threats by working along the biosecurity continuum. The consultancy is funded by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and will be coordinated by the Ascension Island Government.

The start date for the consultancy as soon as possible, and work should be completed by 1st April 2016. A minimum of 2 months of this will be spent on Ascension Island meeting with stakeholders, reviewing current operations and carrying out risk assessments.

To apply, please send a current CV and a letter explaining your qualifications and suitability for this role to sam.weber@ascension.gov.ac no later than 23th October 2015. Interviews will be held by telephone in the week beginning Monday 2nd November.

For more information on the role and how to apply, visit the Ascension Island Government website

Invasive species job vacancy

14 September 2015

Invasive species job vacancy
From the RSPB:

The RSPB is seeking an experienced person to assist the Programme Manager in the development of the mouse eradication project as part of the Gough Island Restoration Programme.

Evidence clearly shows that if mice are not eradicated from Gough Island they will continue to drive two endemic British birds, the Tristan albatross and the Gough bunting, towards extinction. After many years of investment, all outstanding operational questions relating to the eradication of mice from Gough Island have now been successfully addressed. Following detailed consideration of the risks and benefits of the programme, a two phased approach to the entire programme has been proposed.

We require a person experienced in the operational preparation and management of complex rodent eradications by aerial baiting. This person will advise, assist and at times lead on developing the procurement plan along with all other planning documentation necessary to implement the mouse eradication component of the programme.

For more information on this vacancy and how to apply, view the advert on the RSPB website.

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter

02 September 2015

New Marine Pathways Project newsletter
The latest newsletter from the Marine Pathways Project is available here. For more information on the project, visit the website.

New GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy published today

19 August 2015

New GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy published today

The GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy sets out key aims and actions for addressing the threats posed by invasive non-native species. It aims to:

  • get people to work better together, including the government, stakeholders, land managers and the general public
  • improve co-ordination and co-operation on issues at a European and international level

The strategy covers 2015 to 2020 and replaces the first strategy published in 2008.

The Strategy was produced with extensive input from a wide range of stakeholders.



Update to Th@sInvasive App

07 August 2015

Update to Th@sInvasive App

Several new species have been added to the Th@sInvasive App, including quagga mussel, Japanese shore crab and wireweed.

Find out more about the app and how to download it below:

For Android users

For iPhone users


Non-native species job: Scottish Invasive Species Initiative Project Development Officer

07 July 2015

Non-native species job: Scottish Invasive Species Initiative Project Development Officer
The Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) is seeking applicants for the position of Project Development Officer (PDO) for the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative (SISI).

This is a new post contracted for a period of eight months with a possibility for extension, commencing on or around 1st September 2015.

The PDO will work with staff from RAFTS, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and other organisations and utilise their excellent project development, organisational, administrative and interpersonal skills to develop a successful Stage II proposal to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Salary will be the pro-rata equivalent of £28,000 per annum.

Download a full job description here and details of how to apply here.

For further information visit www.rafts.org.uk/rafts/vacancies

Check Clean Dry at the London Youth Games

19 June 2015

Check Clean Dry at the London Youth Games
Thanks to support from The Green Blue, teams attending the London Youth Games regatta will be asked to Check Clean Dry! Find out more about the games here

Special edition of International Journal of Applied Research on Biological Invasions

18 June 2015

Special edition of International Journal of Applied Research on Biological Invasions
The June 2015 edition of the International Journal of Applied Research on Biological Invasions is a special edition on ‘Alien species related information systems and information management’, edited by Stelios Katsanevakis and Helen Roy

Download the articles here

ITV Tonight: Alien Invaders

12 June 2015

ITV Tonight: Alien Invaders
Did you see Niall Moore, Head of the Non-native Species Secretariat, on last night’s episode of ITV Tonight discussing the growing risks posed by invasive non-native species?

If not, you’ll also have missed coverage of the Check Clean Dry campaign from Chris Gerrard, Climate Change and Biodiversity Manager at Anglian Water.

The programme, Alien Invaders, explored some of the impacts of high profile species such as Japanese knotweed and quagga mussel, future threats that could soon arrive and a number of invasive species control methods being explored in Britain today.

Watch ITV Tonight: Alien Invaders here.

New Check Clean Dry materials available

12 June 2015

New Check Clean Dry materials available

Welsh Government have developed Welsh language versions of some of the most popular Check Clean Dry materials.

Download the materials here:

With help from the Marine Pathways Project group, they have also produce a Check Clean Dry poster for anyone sailing in marine waters.

Download the poster here:


New book: Field Guide to Invasive Plants and Animals in Britain

23 March 2015

New book: Field Guide to Invasive Plants and Animals in Britain
Title: Field Guide to Invasive Plants and Animals in Britain
Date of publication: 12/3/15
Link: http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/field-guide-to-invasive-plants-and-animals-in-britain-9781408123188/

Description from the publisher:

"The impact of invasive organisms is second only to habitat loss as a threat to biodiversity and yet, despite increasing ecological awareness, people remain largely unaware of these plants and animals and their potentially devastating impact. Although most biological introductions fail, many prove successful and these can prove disastrous for native fauna and flora.

This field guide will enable the identification of a range of invasive plants and animals now found in Britain. Though these species are of particular concern to conservationists there has previously been no unified guide devoted to their recognition. This book will act both as an ID guide, appealing to the amateur naturalist, and as an important tool for ecologists and land managers attempting to tackle the problem posed by invasive species."




New killer shrimp awareness raising leaflet

20 March 2015

New killer shrimp awareness raising leaflet
Natural Resources Wales have produced a new leaflet to raise awareness of killer shrimp and Check Clean Dry. Download a copy here in English and  Welsh


New biosecurity plan for the Shetland Islands to tackle non-native species

04 March 2015

New biosecurity plan for the Shetland Islands to tackle non-native species
The NAFC Marine Centre’s Marine Spatial Planning Team has published a ‘Biosecurity Plan for the Shetland Islands’ – a management guide for non-native species. Non-native species are plants and animals that have been introduced to Shetland from elsewhere in the world by human activities.

Although there are currently no problematic non-native or ‘invasive’ species in Shetland, in some extreme cases, invasive species can severely impact the local economy and environment. By identifying key pathways for species introductions and assessing how they spread once here, we can work towards mitigating any impacts on Shetland’s important marine environment and industry. The Biosecurity plan provides useful and practical guidance for all marine users (commercial and recreational) on how to reduce the number of introductions to Shetland and ways of minimising their impact. The Plan builds on three years’ worth of monitoring work, which has detected a number of non-native species in the many marinas and ports around the Shetland coastline.

NAFC Marine Centre’s Marine Spatial Planning Officer, Dr Samuel Collin, commented:

The Biosecurity Plan will play an important role in increasing public awareness of the problems associated with non-native species and how adopting simple practices can help with controlling their spread and impact. Our understanding of what causes problematic invasions is improving all the time and by implementing the Biosecurity Plan we can begin to address some of the challenges that come with non-native species management.”

The guidance provided within the Biosecurity Plan supports the fourth edition of the Shetland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan (SMSP), which is one of the most advanced marine environmental management plans in the UK. The addition of the Biosecurity Plan adds a new dimension to the SMSP, keeping Shetland at the forefront of marine environmental management.

NAFC Marine Centre’s Marine Spatial Planning Manager Rachel Shucksmith commented:

The Biosecurity Plan for the Shetland Islands will form an important addition to the Shetland Islands’ Marine Spatial Plan. Shetland is leading the way in local marine management and thanks to the support and input from local advisors and industry groups, we are confident that the new guidance will be an invaluable resource to reduce the risk posed by marine non-native species, helping to safe guard Shetland’s important marine industries and natural heritage.”

The development of the Biosecurity Plan was funded by Marine Scotland and the NAFC Marine Centre (University of Highlands and Islands) and the report and maps are available to download from the NAFC website at http://www.nafc.uhi.ac.uk/departments/marine-science-and-technology/biosecurity-planning.

Further information: For further information, please contact: Dr Samuel Collin or Rachel Shucksmith, NAFC Marine Centre, tel. 01595 772000, email marineplan@uhi.ac.uk, or visit www.nafc.ac.uk


Environment Agency unveils new rod licence images to promote legal fishing

02 March 2015

Environment Agency unveils new rod licence images to promote legal fishing
The Environment Agency today (Monday 2nd March) unveils its new design for this year’s rod licences.

Designed by renowned angling and wildlife artist, David Miller, the new rod licences go on sale today. The image on this year’s coarse fishing rod licence is a crucian carp (Carassius carassius) and the non-coarse is a salmon (Salmo salar).

Last year David’s artwork featured on a range of sustainable fish stamps for the Royal Mail.

Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

“Rod licence income is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of anglers. We want more people to go fishing this year and everyone who does will need one of these licences.

“We’re delighted to see David’s stunning designs yet again which promote the beauty of our natural environment and encourage people to give fishing a go.”

David Miller, the artist who designed the rod licence, said:

“Designing this year’s rod licence combines two of my passions: fishing and art. The Environment Agency does a fantastic job and I’m proud to be supporting rod licence sales with my artwork.”

At £27 for coarse fishing and non-migratory trout, or £72 to also fish for salmon and sea trout, the annual licence is great value for money. There are flexible options to choose from too: a 1 or 8 day licence or the full season. There are also junior and concession options.

You can buy a rod licence online from the Post Office here, at your local Post Office or by phoning 0344 800 5386.

Buying a rod licence online from the Post Office website is easy, and saves both time and administration costs, meaning that more of the income can be spent on improving fish stocks and fishing. Always ensure that you buy direct from the Post Office because there are some unofficial websites which charge a handling fee.

Anyone fishing illegally is cheating other licence paying anglers, can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine.

In 2013/ 2014 the Environment Agency checked 80,000 rod licences and prosecuted 2,795 anglers for fishing without a licence.


Free online training in biosecurity now available!

24 February 2015

Free online training in biosecurity now available!
Free online training in biosecurity is now available through the NNSS e-learning site! www.nonnativespecies.org/elearning

The e-learning is based on an existing package developed by the Environment Agency and is ideal for use by anyone working in the field, including staff, volunteers and contractors.

To take the training you will first need to register with the site. Once you’ve been through the e-learning, you'll be able to take a test and download a certificate once you’ve passed.

Check Clean Dry is on Twitter!

20 February 2015

Check Clean Dry is on Twitter!
Following the success of Invasives week, Check Clean Dry has joined Twitter! For news and updates on the campaign, follow @CheckCleanDryGB or visit the page here https://twitter.com/CheckCleanDryGB 

Environment Agency winning the war on destructive invasive fish

18 February 2015

Environment Agency winning the war on destructive invasive fish
Download an infographic here

The Environment Agency has moved one step closer to winning its battle against a destructive invasive fish which has been wreaking havoc in the country’s lakes and ponds. Topmouth gudgeon outcompete native fish for food and habitat, and spread disease.

At their peak, a decade ago, topmouth gudgeon had been found widely spread across the UK at 23 locations. But after today’s (17 February) operation, and through the Environment Agency’s targeted removal, there are now just three remaining sites in England.

This is not the first time that the Environment Agency has led the complete removal of an invasive species. The fathead minnow was eliminated in 2008 followed by the black bullhead catfish last year.

Smaller than an average thumb, what topmouth gudgeon (pseudorasbora parva) lack in size they make up for with quantity. They breed up to four times a year and as a result can form vast populations.

Their sheer numbers mean that they impact native fish by outcompeting them for food and habitat. This in turn means fewer invertebrates available to other fish and wildlife and upsets the natural balance of a lake or pond. Topmouth gudgeon also eat the eggs of other fish and carry a parasite.

Native to Asia, it is thought that they were introduced to Britain in the 1980s from mainland Europe and potentially spread through fish farm movements and the ornamental fish trade.

Today expert fisheries officers, kitted out in specialist protective gear, were on-site for this latest operation at three ponds in Hackney, north London.

Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

“Invasive species pose a serious threat to our native wildlife and cost the UK economy at least massive £1.8 billion a year. Topmouth gudgeon are on our hit list of the UK’s most damaging invasive species and despite only being tiny have devastating effects on fisheries and angling.

“While Britain’s rivers are the healthiest for more than 20 years, rivers and ponds that harbour non-native species can have their water quality and ecology affected and could fall short of tough EU targets.”

It is not certain how the topmouth gudgeon first found their way to the ponds in Hackney but experts believe it is likely that they were dumped illegally. The Environment Agency is urging people who own fish that the apparently harmless action of releasing unwanted fish into a local pond can have disastrous long-term effects on the environment and other animals within it.

To ensure the continued success of this work, the Environment Agency is asking members of the public to report any sightings of topmouth gudgeon, or other invasive fish, species to its incident hotline on 03708 506506, via email at: non-natives@environment-agency.gov.uk or via the AquaInvaders app downloadable at: http://naturelocator.org/aquainvaders.html.

Everyone can do their bit to help prevent the spread of invasive species by following the principles of the ‘Be Plantwise’ campaign and not dumping aquatic plants in the wild and always disposing of old plants and pond material responsibly, and by composting or using a green waste bin. By following the tips of the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ campaign , anglers, boaters and canoeists can help prevent the spread of invasive species between waterways.

Infrastructure Bill receives Royal Assent - bringing species control agreements and orders to England and Wales

13 February 2015

Infrastructure Bill receives Royal Assent - bringing species control agreements and orders to England and Wales
The Infrastructure Act 2015 became law yesterday (12 February 2015). While the Act primarily relates to infrastructure and development, it also introduces much needed powers to control invasive non-native species in England and Wales. The measures provide government agencies in England and Wales with powers to enter into control agreements and, if necessary, control orders with landowners to ensure action can be taken against harmful species on their land. The measures follow similar provisions introduced in Scotland by the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.

The full Act can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/7/contents/enacted/data.htm

For more information on these provisions, please contact Craig Lee in Defra at craig.lee@defra.gsi.gov.uk


Invasives week - Day 5!

06 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 5!

Welcome to Day 5 of Invasives week!

Thank you to everyone who submitted a question for our experts, we've stopped taking questions now but stay tuned for their answers on Twitter #Invasivesweek.

A huge thanks to everyone who has been following and supporting Invasives week, the response has been brilliant. Some highlights below: 

Please continue to let us know what you are doing #invasivesweek  #checkcleandry  #beplantwise

Find out what we've been up to on the Defra social media accounts:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/


Invasives week - Day 4!

05 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 4!

Welcome to Day 4 of Invasives week!

A huge thanks for all the support so far!

Today's agenda:

  • Defra have published a case study on their Facebook account about the work of the Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-native Species Initiative (CFINNS).
  • We are calling for questions on invasive non-native species for tomorrow's Twitter Q&A with experts Dr Niall Moore and Dr Helen Roy. Please tag any questions with #invasivesweek.

All the links can also be found on the Defra social media accounts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/

Let us know what you are doing to support Invasives week! #invasivesweek   #checkcleandry   #beplantwise


International Conference Aims To Debate Important EU Biodiversity Policy

04 February 2015

International Conference Aims To Debate Important EU Biodiversity Policy
Press release:

The new Invasive Alien Species (IAS) legislation passed by the European Union will be debated at a conference taking place on Tuesday 17 March 2015 at Portcullis House in London.

The recently-approved EU Commission’s Invasive Alien Species legislation became law on 1 January 2015. The Regulation will lead to the Commission adopting an open list of invasive alien species of Union concern. Species on the list must not be introduced, transported, placed on the market, kept, bred, grown or released into the environment. The new Regulation also covers invasive alien species of regional concern and allows member states to identify from their national list species that require enhanced regional cooperation.

According to the EU, there are currently over 12, 000 species present in Europe which are alien to the natural environment. About 15% of these are invasive and they are rapidly growing in number.

The day-long conference aims to inform and educate attendees about the new legislation and its impact on native biodiversity.

Event organiser, the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI), one of Europe’s leading squirrel charities, acknowledges the impact that invasive alien species have on the country’s bio-diversity, eco-systems, human health and economy. ESI is bringing together European and British stakeholders to discuss the details of the legislation and its impact here in the UK.

Alongside the general discussion about IAS legislation implications, representatives of three specific invasive species will be making a case for inclusion on the initial list of concern, including: Grey Squirrels, Japanese Knotweed and North American Signal Crayfish.

The conference sponsors include Simon Hart MP, Peter Aldous MP and Richard Benyon MP.

George Farr, Chairman of European Squirrel Initiative commented: “Our specific concern is the impact of Grey Squirrels on our native habitat; however, we thought it was important to convene a meeting of some of the best minds in Britain on the subject of IAS as this legislation will impact the biodiversity of the entire country.”

“Invasive Alien Species are costing the EU in excess of €12 billion per annum and therefore this is a problem that must be tackled at the highest level. I look forward to an informative day and healthy debate on identifying the right species for the IAS list. If the list itself doesn’t effectively reflect the problem – the legislation won’t work.”

The conference is limited in space. For more information contact: Louise Crosby on louise@europeansquirrelinitiative.org or 01394 610 022.

Scheduled to speak:

François Wakenhut – European Commission, Head of Unit -DG Environment, Biodiversity Trevor Salmon –Defra, Head of Domestic & Invasive Non-Native, Species Conservation Team Peter Birch- Canal & River Trust , National Environment Manager Dr. Dick Shaw – CABI UK, Regional Coordinator, Invasives Dr. Craig Shuttleworth- European Squirrel Initiative, Biologist and Squirrel Specialist


Invasives week - Day 3!

04 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 3!

Welcome to Day 3 of Invasives week!

Monday's BuzzFeed article has now received over 2400 views, and yesterday's has already reached 700! A huge thanks to everyone who has helped to support Invasives week so far.

Today's agenda:

All the links can also be found on the Defra social media accounts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/

Let us know what you are doing to support Invasives week! #invasivesweek  #checkcleandry  #beplantwise


Invasives week - Day 2!

03 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 2!

Welcome to Day 2 of Invasives week!

Yesterday's BuzzFeed article received great interest, over 1400 views in its first day, and was even retweeted by BBC Springwatch!

Today's agenda:


All the links can also be found on the Defra social media accounts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/  

Let us know what you are doing to support Invasives week#invasivesweek  #checkcleandry  #beplantwise

February 2 - 6th is Invasives week!

02 February 2015

February 2 - 6th is Invasives week!

This week is Invasives week!

Keep an eye on the Defra social media accounts throughout the week for links for information on invasive species and to find out how others are supporting the Check Clean Dry campaign.

First up is a BuzzFeed article, "12 Tiny Things That Cause Huge Problems"!

Follow the Defra social media accounts here:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK 
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/

Let us know what you're doing to support Invasives week! #CheckCleanDry


IPPC Photo Contest: Pests without Borders!

02 February 2015

IPPC Photo Contest: Pests without Borders!

The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) is running a Photo Contest entitled "Pests without Borders" to raise awareness on why preventing pests is essential for protecting agriculture and the environment.

Pictures must relate to three thematic areas:

  • Pests
  • The impact of pests affecting food security and the environment
  • Management of pests

The contest is open until the 28th February. The top three images will be awarded prizes consisting of assignments with IPPC for a photographic mission close to the residence of the awardees, and the winners will be announced during the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM)-10, to be help from 16 - 19 March 2015.

Find out more information on the Phytosanitary Resources webpage


The Angling Trust and Check Clean Dry on Winterwatch

22 January 2015

The Angling Trust and Check Clean Dry on Winterwatch

Did you catch Mark Owen from the Angling Trust talking about signal crayfish and Check Clean Dry on Winterwatch last night?

You can watch the footage here. The piece begins at around 28 minutes.

Share and spread the word! #checkcleandry


The Green Blue at London Boat Show

22 January 2015

The Green Blue at London Boat Show
The Green Blue (a joint BMF and RYA initiative) recently attended the London Boat Show, highlighting non-native species found in UK waters and the damage they can cause.

Their stand, featuring five embedded non-native species (loaned from Cornwall Wildlife Trust) was visited by RYA President, HRH The Princess Royal!

Find out more by visiting The Green Blue here

Make it your New Year's Resolution to Check Clean Dry!

13 January 2015

Make it your New Year's Resolution to Check Clean Dry!
Help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species, make it your New Year's Resolution to Check Clean Dry!

Why not tell us what you're doing to support the campaign and find out what others are up to? Find out more at #checkcleandry


New EU Regulation on invasive alien species comes into force

01 January 2015

New EU Regulation on invasive alien species comes into force
The new EU Regulation on invasive alien species entered into force on 1 January 2015. The new regulation seeks to address the problem of invasive alien species in a comprehensive manner so as to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to minimize and mitigate the human health or economic impacts that these species can have.

The regulation foresees three types of interventions; prevention, early warning and rapid response, and management. A list of invasive alien species of Union concern will be drawn up and managed with Member States using risk assessments and scientific evidence.

View the Regulation here.

New SBRI Invasive Non-Native Species Challenge launched via ‘Sell2Wales’

17 December 2014

New SBRI Invasive Non-Native Species Challenge launched via ‘Sell2Wales’
Announcement from Nautral Resources Wales:

The new SBRI Invasive Non-Native Species Challenge has now been launched via ‘Sell2Wales’: Sell2Wales - INNS SBRI

The key challenges & questions below are from the attached Summary - which are also contained within the Sell2Wales information pack.

The Challenge:

We want to reduce or prevent the spread of and ideally eliminate existing INNS; we also want to reduce the likelihood of new INNS introductions. This includes controlling or eradicating INNS to protect specific areas such as riverbanks, waterways and other assets at risk of colonisation. We want to detect INNS before or at the point of entry into Wales and the UK, to improve detection of existing INNS and to quickly predict or map likely invasion areas and colonisation rates. We need to detect, map, remove or restrict spread and protect assets in ways that are easy to apply, have minimal environmental impact, are low-cost to use and consistently effective. There are a wide range of places where these needs apply including, rivers, lakes or estuaries and associated structures and equipment including water intakes, floodbanks, weirs, moorings, boat hulls and engines etc. We want to maximise the regeneration of native species and improve soil health following INNS control and we need effective tools or techniques to help with this.

Key questions:

• How can we reduce or prevent the spread of invasive species like signal crayfish or Quagga mussel or the others mentioned in the Challenge summary?

• What tools or techniques can be developed for widespread use to more efficiently and effectively detect and contain or eradicate INNS - or will improve the regeneration of native species?

• How could we protect or adapt places or assets including waterways, flood banks, intakes or boat hulls etc from colonisation?

There’s a briefing event in Newport S.Wales on the 23rd December about the Challenge - the Sell2Wales - INNS SBRI weblink has further details on this and the Challenge opportunity.

Please note the submission deadline is extended to the 12th January.


Environment Agency Autumn 2014 Newsletter now available

12 December 2014

Environment Agency Autumn 2014 Newsletter now available
The Autumn edition of the Environment Agency Non-native Newsletter is now available. Download the newsletter here.

Biosecurity St Helena launched

03 December 2014

Biosecurity St Helena launched
St Helena have launched their first national biosecurity policy.

In 2016 the first airport will open, breaking the island’s isolation and greatly increasing biosecurity risk. The Policy is the result of over a full year’s work, with extensive stakeholder and public consultation. It provides the framework for preventing or mitigating against the increased risk of introduction of new and potentially harmful pests, weeds and diseases to St Helena associated with the air access and a new cargo system.

St Helena’s national vision for biosecurity is: ‘an effective biosecurity system of shared responsibility that protects the sustainable future of our Island, allowing a vibrant economy, safe movement of people and goods, and enhanced livelihoods and health.’

Biosecurity St Helena, as the policy document is known, is guided by seven principles: leadership, communication, shared responsibility, risk and evidence-based decision making, cooperation and equity. An implementation plan is also in place for priority actions to be delivered by responsible agencies.

Deputy Chair for Economic Development, Derek Thomas, said in his speech at the launch event that: “Having a biosecurity policy for the first time gives us a guiding document to help us achieve our vision and our response to our biosecurity challenge. It requires the support, participation and compliance of all St Helenians and visitors alike”.

Find out more here

New publication: LIFE and invasive alien species

27 November 2014

New publication: LIFE and invasive alien species
The latest LIFE Nature Focus publication takes a timely look at one of the greatest threats to Europe's biodiversity, ecosystem services, human health and economic activities. The 76-page LIFE and invasive alien species brochure links the work of LIFE projects with the aims of the new EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Regulation (see here).

There are an estimated 1200-1800 IAS in Europe and the impact of such species is of growing concern. The LIFE programme has been addressing the problems posed by invasive alien species for more than two decades.

Indeed, in that time some 265 LIFE projects have included measures to deal with IAS, ranging from steps to prevent their spread to control and eradication actions in places where invasive alien species are already present and having a negative impact on native species and habitats.

LIFE also provides a deep well of learning on trans-border cooperation, dissemination and awareness-raising efforts with regards to IAS.

This new brochure examines the lessons learned from the LIFE programme's extensive experience of dealing with the impacts of IAS. As such it is essential reading for policymakers and practitioners in this field.

Download LIFE and Invasive Alien Species

New Non-native Species Job: Project Co-ordinator, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

27 November 2014

New Non-native Species Job: Project Co-ordinator, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority

Project Co-ordinator (Invasive non-native species) Temporary part-time
£19,817 to £21,734 pro rata
Pembrokeshire
Temporary post for 12 to 15 months, 15 to 22 hours per week, by arrangement with the successful candidate

The Stitch in Time Project will involve local people in recording and managing invasive non-native plants in the Gwaun Valley. It is part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Sustainable Development Fund.

Your role as Project Co-ordinator will be to deliver catchment-based, invasive species management which engages and enthuses local people and builds their capacity to continue the work beyond the project’s lifetime.

You will have some experience in working outdoors with groups, relevant species/habitat knowledge and PR and organisational skills. Able to converse in Welsh, you will build links in the community and be able to promote the special qualities of the area.

Applications on standard application form, no cvs.

Closing date: 04 December 2014.

Find out more here


New leaflet on non-native amphibian and reptile species

24 November 2014

New leaflet on non-native amphibian and reptile species
The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust have produced a new illustrated guide to non-native amphibian and reptile species in the UK.

For more information, and to download the leaflet, visit the website.

Reform of anti social behaviour powers - Japanese knotweed and other invasive non-native plants

21 November 2014

Non-native bighead and silver carp removed from Cheshire fishery

27 October 2014

Non-native bighead and silver carp removed from Cheshire fishery
Environment Agency fisheries teams have removed three non-native bighead and silver carp from a fishery in Cheshire.

Lymm Angling Club contacted the Environment Agency and requested specialist help to remove the bighead and silver carp from their fishery – which averaged 40lbs in weight.

Bighead carp (H. nobilis) and silver carp (H. molitrix) are native to China and Eastern Asia. Living in large rivers and floodplain lakes, they can grow to significant size, in excess of 100lb and largely feed on phytoplankton. They have been widely introduced in Europe and North America as food and sport fish and to improve water quality, but outside their native range they can be highly invasive, out-competing native fish for food and habitat and introducing parasites and disease. As well as harming our native species, bighead carp have an alarming response to danger, jumping out of the water, which can pose real risks of injury to boaters and anglers.

Big head carp were first recorded in the wild in England in 2005. Both species are listed under the Import of Live Fish Act as Category 5 species, of highest risk, and it is illegal to stock or keep them in the freshwater environment.

Andy Eaves, an Environment Agency fisheries officer, who was involved in the eradication, said:

“Fishery owners play a vital role in our work to tackle non-native species and we encourage any other clubs to contact us if they suspect they are present. Our staff netted the fishery and removed three large silver and bighead carp, and no further non-native fish are believed to be present in the lake. If left unchecked, non-native fish can pose a serious risk to our fisheries and the economy. Where we can contain and eradicate them sustainably, we will take prompt action to remove them”

The Environment Agency is working with fishery owners, and angling clubs across England to control a range of invasive non-native fish in more than 800 waters. A 5 year programme to remove topmouth gudgeon from 21 sites is nearing completion, and in rapid response operations we have successfully eradicated 2 other highly invasive species entirely from the UK: the fathead minnow and black bullhead catfish. Teams are working towards the removal of other species including non-native sturgeon, and to ensure that invasive species like Wels catfish which provide angling opportunities are stocked to appropriate waters, and removed from illegal sites where this poses a risk to the wider environment.

All anglers are urged to follow the Check, Clean, Dry biosecurity procedures to help prevent the spread of problem non-native species.

Marine pathways project webpages now available

23 October 2014

Marine pathways project webpages now available
The marine pathways project is working to protect marine biodiversity in the UK and Ireland by managing key pathways by which marine invasive non native species (NNS) are introduced and spread. It is being undertaken by organisations within the UK and Ireland and will contribute to the delivery of the Non-Indigenous species descriptor of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and other relevant legislation.

Find out more here

Consultations on draft updates to the river basin management plans and draft flood risk management plans are now open for comment

13 October 2014

Consultations on draft updates to the river basin management plans and draft flood risk management plans are now open for comment

From Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency:

"The Environment Agency is seeking your views on proposals to improve the water environment and protect communities from flood risk in England.

We would like your input on updates to river basin management plans and flood risk management plans. Once agreed, these plans will shape decisions, direct investment and action and deliver significant benefits for society and the environment.

River basin management plans set out long term objectives for the quality of the water environment. They identify the condition of rivers, lakes and coastal waters and the pressures on them. The plans provide evidence that will help those with an interest in the water environment to agree where improvements can be made.

Flood risk management plans describe the risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, surface water, groundwater and reservoirs. They set out how the Environment Agency, local councils and water companies will work together, with communities, to manage flood risk.

These links will also explain how to respond to consultations in river basin districts which cross borders with Scotland and Wales.

The formal closing date for the flood risk management plan consultation is 31 January 2015, while the river basin management plan consultations will run for six months, ending on 10 April 2015.

The Environment Agency is carrying out a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of each plan. The SEA identifies the significant effects that would be associated with implementing the plans.

We welcome your comments online or in writing. We will also be holding some national and local engagement events to help inform your responses.

Please encourage others to get involved by including details of the consultations in your regular communications to your staff/members and external networks.

I’d like to thank everyone we are working with to deliver improvements in the water environment and to address the risk of flooding across England. I look forward to continuing to work with others on what more we can achieve together in the future."


UN issues guidelines to minimize risk of invasive species. Guidance targets pets, terrariaum and aquarium species and live bait.

10 October 2014

UN issues guidelines to minimize risk of invasive species. Guidance targets pets, terrariaum and aquarium species and live bait.
PyeongChang/Montreal, 10 October 2014 – The Convention on Biological Diversity today adopted new guidance to tackle the introduction of invasive species as pets, aquarium and terrarium species, and as live bait and live food.

The guidance addresses a major pathway for introduction and spread of invasive alien species, as a significant percentage of global invasive introductions result from pets, aquarium and terrarium species that escape from confined conditions and then get into the natural environment.

This is an important step forward to prevent, and control the risks on biodiversity posed by non-native live animals, plants as well as pathogens and parasites attached to the live specimens that are in trade, including growing market on the Internet trade,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

"Safe trade of live animals and plants and responsible conduct protects unique biodiversity in the varied biogeographic regions of the world while facilitating an international market. This contributes to sustainable development world wide,” he added.

The guidelines, which were adopted during the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP-12), fill a gap in the international guidance on prevention, control or eradication of invasive alien species. They are intended to apply to the import or transport of species to a country or distinct biogeographical area within a country, including trade via the Internet.

The guidance is relevant to countries, relevant organizations, the industry and consumers, including all actors along the value chain, such as importers, breeders, wholesalers, retailers and customers. For the case of live food, this also includes restaurants and markets. It provides elements that national and other authorities may use for the development of regulations or codes of conduct, or that international organizations, industry and civil society organizations may use in voluntary codes of conduct and other guidance.

In spite of countries’ efforts, the trend of invasions of alien species does not show signs of slowing down. The fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, released earlier this week, re-affirmed that invasive alien species are a major threat to biodiversity and their introduction has accelerated as a result of growing international trade.

This guidance directly supports the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity target 9 which says that “By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or Page 2 of 2 eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment.”

Download the guidance here

More information here

For more information please contact David Ainsworth, Information Officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity at +82 (0)10 2149 0526 (until 17 October 2014) or at david.ainsworth@cbd.int

European Council Adopt EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species

30 September 2014

European Council Adopt EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species
The Council today adopted the "Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species" (see updated text here).

For additional information, you can find an article on the issue and the official press release of the European Council.


Update on Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) control on the Tamar river

25 September 2014

Update on Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) control on the Tamar river
From Cornwall Council:

Local communities, Cornwall Council, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) have been working together to control this invasive, alien and physically damaging introduced plant on the River Tamar.

The project has been progressing for several years and is demonstrating considerable success despite various changes in the partner organisations. Maintaining the focus over this time, to eradicate Giant Hogweed from the Tamar catchment and keep it out of Cornwall, has been key to the achievements to date.

As the plant is virtually absent from the rest of Cornwall, the project has a realistic goal of its eradication from a very significant area.

The plants were widespread within the corridor, which includes many paths and much public access. It is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining World Heritage site area and many parts of the area have designations including Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Site of Special Scientific Interest etc.

Early objectives were to prevent seeding and thus to determine the likely length of the project in line with the likely viability period of previously shed seed.

The combination of groups with different interests, but a common purpose regarding the control of the plant, has resulted in generally good coordination with a few exceptions.

Areas remain within the tidal reaches where control has been more difficult, but the data showing such substantial reductions in the upper reaches is expected to lead to a knock on effect of enhanced control within these downstream areas.

The success of the project has resulted in the encouragement of other voluntary groups, organised through the AONB, to tackle other invasive plants.

Mutual cooperation benefit has been demonstrated to all the groups involved regarding delivery of their individual responsibilities e.g. stopping seed coming down from upstream into a SSSI.

The importance of a realistic time scale and the allowance of time for ongoing vigilance and contact with landowners into the future are vital factors being taken into account.

The project is getting close to the point where there is potential to hand over to individual area management, the reduction being so significant, but would not have been possible without landowner co-operation and close partnership working.


Summary report from discussion forum: Invasive Species - Friends or Foes?

09 September 2014

Summary report from discussion forum: Invasive Species - Friends or Foes?
The Royal Society of Edinburgh have published the summary report from a recent discussion forum: Invasive Species - Friends or Foes?

Speakers at the forum were Professor Chris Thomas FRS, from the Department of Biology, University of York, and Dr Niall Moore, Head of the GB Non-native Species Secretariat.

Read the summary report here

Find out more on The Royal Society of Edinburgh webpage



New Non-native Species Job: Non-native Species Secretariat Officer

29 August 2014

New Non-native Species Job: Non-native Species Secretariat Officer
Non-native Species Secretariat Officer
£22,698 - £25,903

Sand Hutton, York
One-year fixed-term contract (with the possibility of extension or permanency)

Build your knowledge of life sciences as you help protect our natural environment.

As one of the country’s leading emergency response services, the role of the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency is to help safeguard animal health and welfare and public health, protect the economy and enhance food security through research, surveillance and inspection.

It’s the chance to be involved in, and lead on, third sector engagement and biosecurity related work for campaigns aiming to protect our environment, including Be Plant Wise and Check, Clean, Dry. Alongside attending conferences, you will help embed non-native species training widely across the UK. You will also be involved in assisting with emergency responses, alerts and risk analysis and provide advice to Defra and the devolved administrations and their agencies.

Qualified to degree level in biological science or equivalent, you will bring a sound understanding of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint together with a flair for presenting to and influencing stakeholders. It’s likely you will working on invasive non native species or in a role involving stakeholder engagement. Skills in website design and maintenance would be highly desirable.

In return for your hard work and commitment, you’ll enjoy excellent training and professional development opportunities, plus attractive civil service benefits including an on-site nursery, on-site gym and subsidised restaurant.

To apply, please visit https://jobs.civilservice.gov.uk/nghr/jobs.cgi and search under Reference 1424964.

Closing date: 11 September 2014.


CABI releases rust fungus to control invasive weed, Himalayan Balsam

26 August 2014

CABI releases rust fungus to control invasive weed, Himalayan Balsam
From today, not-for-profit research organization, CABI, will be releasing a rust fungus at locations in Berkshire, Cornwall and Middlesex as part of field trials to control the non-native, invasive weed Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) using natural means.

Himalayan balsam has rapidly become one of the UK’s most widespread invasive weeds, colonizing river banks, waste land, damp woodlands, roadways and railways. The Environment Agency estimates that the weed occupies over 13% of river banks in England and Wales. It can reach over three metres in height and competes with native plants, reducing biodiversity. Large scale chemical and manual control is often not feasible and not economically viable.

Using existing measures, the Environment Agency estimates it would cost up to £300 million to eradicate Himalayan balsam from the UK.

The release of the rust fungus comes after an eight-year research programme funded primarily by Defra and the Environment Agency, with contributions from Network Rail, the Scottish Government and Westcountry Rivers Trust. During the course of the research, testing in quarantine laboratories has established that the rust fungus causes significant damage to Himalayan balsam and does not impact on native species.

Minister for natural environment, Lord de Mauley, says: “This is a great step forwards in tackling Himalayan balsam. This invasive weed prevents our native plants from flourishing, can increase flood risk, and costs the British economy £1m per year to clean up. The work CABI has done in identifying a natural control method will help us reduce the impact of Himalayan balsam without any negative effects on native species.”

Senior Scientist at CABI, Dr Robert Tanner, says: “The release of the rust fungus against Himalayan balsam is a result of over eight years of research evaluating the safety of its use against the target species. Over time, we should see a decline in the Himalayan balsam populations along our rivers, with native plant species recolonizing these degraded sites.

To tackle the spread of Himalayan balsam, in 2006, CABI was commissioned to find a natural way to help control this destructive weed. The aim of CABI’s research was to find one of the many insects or fungi attacking the plant that had evolved to attack only Himalayan balsam, which could be released into the UK to control the weed while leaving indigenous species unharmed. CABI found that the rust fungus did just that.

Defra Ministers took the decision to allow CABI to release the rust fungus in July 2014. This decision followed the Food and Environment Research Agency’s (FERA) review of the scientific research and a public consultation on the proposed release of the fungus to control Himalayan balsam, which ran from May to June 2014.

Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species

22 August 2014

Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species
A special issue of "Aquatic Invasions" (in press) includes papers from the 18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, on April 21-25, 2013. This conference has provided a venue for the exchange of information on various aspects of aquatic invasive species since its inception in 1990. The conference continues to provide an opportunity for dialog between academia, industry and environmental regulators within North America and from abroad.

Find out more here

Update on Environment Agency Topmouth Gudgeon eradication programme

01 August 2014

Update on Environment Agency Topmouth Gudgeon eradication programme

The Environment Agency have published an update on the Topmouth Gudgeon eradication programme. Click here to view the update

Key points from the EA update:

- Topmouth gudgeon is considered one of the most potentially damaging invasive species to invade Western Europe

- At its peak in 2004, there were 23 confirmed sites in GB with a further 12 suspected sites under investigation

- Through our investigation and eradication programme confirmed populations in England are now thought to have been reduced to 6 sites, with only 1 remaining site in the East Midlands, all 5 other sites are confined to the South
East of England.

- Our strategy is to remove all confirmed sites in England by 2017, and in partnership with Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru Natural Resources Wales, to ultimately remove this threat from GB Defra has provided funding for a 5 year eradication programme to deliver this work in England

- Defra has provided funding for a 5 year eradication programme to deliver this work in England


Ruddy Duck eradication bulletin now available

03 July 2014

Ruddy Duck eradication bulletin now available

"The UK Ruddy Duck population is now thought to have fallen to around 40 birds, of which only ten or so are thought to be adult females. At its peak in 2001, the population was estimated at almost 6,000 birds. The strategy is to remove these females to prevent future breeding, resulting in the remaining birds dying out naturally."

Read more in the Ruddy Duck eradication bulletin find old bulletins here: Ruddy Duck project


High risk species eradicated from GB: Black bullhead catfish Ameiurus melas

02 July 2014

High risk species eradicated from GB: Black bullhead catfish Ameiurus melas
The Environment Agency National Fisheries Services are leading the way in the UK developing tools and techniques to contain, control and eradicate high risk invasive non-native fish species. As a lead partner in the delivery of the Invasive Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain the Environment Agency is the enforcing authority for the Import of Live Fish Act and we respond to current and new invasive non-native fish threats.

In May National Fisheries Services Virtual Non-native Species Management Team, working closely with Hertfordshire and North London Area staff delivered a rapid response eradication operation to remove the only known population of the highly invasive black bullhead from a fishery in Essex, England.

The black bullhead (Ameiurus melas) originally comes from North America. Outside of their natural range they are highly invasive. This small catfish grows to only 20cm, but reaches huge densities, is very tough, tolerant of poor water quality and able to survive temperatures up to 35°C with low oxygen. It has a very broad diet, including our native fish, guards its eggs, has (as our officers discovered to their cost) vicious, sharp spines in its fins and shoals in balls for added protection from native predators as well as carrying novel parasites and disease. The fishery in North London had succumbed to this highly efficient invader, and the local angling club had lost one of their best fisheries. The club contacted the Environment Agency fisheries department and the operation to remove the catfish was planned. The angling club chairman said

“the EA fisheries department has been great to work with. Our fishery had declined to such a poor condition; all due to this menacing non-native catfish. They conducted the operation and dosed the chemical treatment in our lake with military precision. As a club we look forward to restocking with native fish and returning our fishery to greatness again”.

Should the bullhead have spread, the risk to the wider environment was significant; so a piscicide based eradication was carried out by the specialist national virtual team using boat and bank based application systems. Early indications are that the eradication operation has been successful, and the species has been removed as a risk to our native species and habitats, our fisheries and the angling opportunities they provide. Monitoring of the site will continue. Rapid operational response to new threats is a vital and effective component in our continued battle to combat invasive species. Cases where an invasive species has been entirely eradicated from the UK are exceptionally rare; and this is the second high risk fish species we have removed through such action. The fathead minnow was eradicated in 2008; and through our wider eradication programme we are well on the way to removing the threat of topmouth gudgeon from our waters.

If anyone suspects a fishery holds non native species which could be threatening fish stocks , please call the Environment Agency incident hotline on 0800 807060.


Research on biosecurity best practice

25 June 2014

Research on biosecurity best practice

Research jointly led by the University of Leeds and Cefas has demonstrated the effectiveness of hot water in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species on angling equipment. To find out more, download a poster summarising the findings.


Updated NNSIP Score Card Now Available

16 June 2014

Updated NNSIP Score Card Now Available
One of the main roles of the Non-native Species Information Portal project is to monitor trends in non-native species in Great Britain.  A summary of trends is presented using a 'score card', the latest version of which can be found using the link below:

Download the updated scorecard here

Non-native Species Information Portal back online

16 June 2014

Non-native Species Information Portal back online
The Non-native Species Information Portal is back online.

Footage of predation by black rats

16 June 2014

Footage of predation by black rats
New videos of black rats preying on Yelkouan shearwater Puffinus yelkouan in Tavolara, North Sardinia. Tavolara hosts more than 10, 000 pairs of P. yelkouan, 50% of the species global population. Rat eradication, co-financed by European Community (LIFE project) is scheduled for 2015.

Find the videos here

Invasive non-native species e-learning available

10 June 2014

Invasive non-native species e-learning available

The NNSS has produced an online training (e-learning) package in invasive non-native species, which is freely available to use. The e-learning currently consists of five topics:

  • Introduction to invasive non-native species
  • Introduction to identification and recording
  • Identification of invasive freshwater plants
  • Identification of invasive freshwater invertebrates
  • Identification of invasive riparian plants

A test and certificate are available for each topic. To access the e-learning visit the NNSS e-learning site: www.nonnativespecies.org/elearning

Find out more information here


Species Control Orders to tackle invasive non-native species

09 June 2014

Species Control Orders to tackle invasive non-native species
From Defra:

"Powers to make species control orders to tackle invasive non-native species were announced in Wednesday’s Queens Speech and form part of the Infrastructure Bill that has been published today. It is proposed that these powers may be exercised by the Secretary of State, Welsh Ministers, Natural England, Environment Agency, the Forestry Commissioners and the Natural Resources Body for Wales. The Scottish Government took similar powers in 2011.

Click here to download a PDF of the Infrastructure Bill.


Invasive non-native species pose serious threats to biodiversity, the water environment, economic prosperity, human health and welfare. The economic impact in the UK alone has recently been estimated as a minimum of £1.8 billion per annum which includes £1 billion to the agriculture and horticulture sectors and over £200m to the construction, development and infrastructure sectors. Early eradication is critical to tackling invasive non-native species.

At present, Defra, Welsh Government and our network bodies have to rely on reaching voluntary agreements with landowners to undertake work or to gain access to their land to eradicate or control invasive non-native species found there. Whilst most landowners are willing to enter into voluntary agreements, experience has shown that a small minority (around 5%) are not. In contrast to powers available under animal and plant health legislation to combat disease and pests, we have no powers to compel landowners to act, or powers of entry for surveillance or to carry out work ourselves in respect of invasive non-native species. The lack of these powers has already impacted on programmes to eradicate ruddy duck, American bullfrog and monk parakeets.

A key component of the EU regulation on invasive non-native species that will come into force on 1 January 2015 is that Member States should take measures to eradicate newly arrived species of European Union concern within three months of their detection. The lack of these powers places us in a vulnerable position in terms of biosecurity and our ability to meet our future obligations under the EU regulation, and was highlighted in the Environmental Audit Committee’s report published in April following its inquiry into invasive non-native species.

Consequently, Ministers have agreed that we should have powers to compel landowners to take action on invasive non-native species or permit others to enter the land and carry out those operations. The intention is that these powers should be used in exceptional circumstances where a voluntary approach cannot be agreed and there is a clear and significant threat from inaction. We intend that they will be used primarily to support national eradication programmes; the routine use of these powers for widespread species, such as Japanese knotweed, would be considered disproportionate.

The costs of the operations will fall to government to meet, unless the landowner is responsible for the release of the species. The powers will enable action to be taken at an early stage and hence are designed to reduce the spiralling costs to the economy associated with on-going control of these species as well as protecting our native biodiversity. Based on the evidence of recent eradication programmes, we estimate that only around one species control order will be required each year. A ministerial code of guidance will provide more information on how and when these powers should be used. The powers will be supported by new powers of entry and criminal offences."


If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact Craig Lee Craig.Lee@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Invitation to comment on the draft recommendations for the GB Strategy Review

03 June 2014

Invitation to comment on the draft recommendations for the GB Strategy Review
Defra are seeking comments on the draft recommendations for the GB Strategy Review.

Download the draft recommendations here

Download the current GB Strategy on invasive non-native species here

Please send comments to Craig Lee Craig.Lee@defra.gsi.gov.uk by the 27th June 2014

New Best Practice Guidelines for Marine Biosecurity Planning in Scotland

29 May 2014

New Best Practice Guidelines for Marine Biosecurity Planning in Scotland
In response to recent changes to legislation in Scotland, a new set of guidelines have been published which outline best practice in the production of biosecurity plans for the marine environment.

The guidelines are designed to help Scottish marine users prevent the introduction of invasive non‐native species and avoid prosecution under the amended Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act. These guidelines were produced on behalf of Scottish Natural Heritage and the Firth of Clyde Forum by SRSL, a specialist marine consultancy, with unique expertise in advising businesses on preparing and implementing marine biosecurity plans, as well as providing training in this area.

View the guidelines here

For more information, download the full press release


Consulation on Himalayan Balsam biocontrol

06 May 2014

Consulation on Himalayan Balsam biocontrol
Your views and associated supporting evidence are sought by Defra on the Pest Risk Assessment for Puccinia komarovii var. glanduliferae and the proposal to lift quarantine restrictions. Defra are also seeking your views on the utilisation of this pathogen (after rigorous safety testing) for the biocontrol of the highly invasive non-native plant, Himalayan balsam, (Impatiens glandulifera).

Click here for the consultation documents

The exercise is being carried out in line with usual practice for consulting on risk assessments on new and revised plant health threats.

Please send responses by 16/06/2014 to Simon Mackown at: himalayanbalsambiocontrol@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Defra, Room 115, 2 The Square Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6EB, Tel: 01173723612

The closing date for the consultation is the 16/06/2014.

Environmental Audit Committee publish report on invasive non-native species

16 April 2014

Environmental Audit Committee publish report on invasive non-native species
The Environmental Audit Committee have today published their report on invasive non-native species

The report sets out the findings of the Committee's inquiry, which examined the measures covered in a proposed EU regulation on the management on invasive species, as well as proposals from the Law Commission to change the law on invasive species.

The Environmental Audit Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to consider to what extent the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development; to audit their performance against such targets as may be set for them by Her Majesty’s Ministers; and to report thereon to the House.

European Parliament backs EU-wide plans to stem the spread of invasive alien species

16 April 2014

European Parliament backs EU-wide plans to stem the spread of invasive alien species
The European Parliament have backed measures to stop invasive non-native species of plants or insects from getting into the EU, or to limit the ecological and economic damage caused by those that do.

Read the full press release by European Parliament here


Five invasive aquatic plant species banned from sale

06 April 2014

Five invasive aquatic plant species banned from sale

Defra has banned the sale of five of the most invasive aquatic plant species from 6 April 2014:

The ban means all retailers in England must stop selling these plants or face a fine of up to £5000 and / or up to six months in prison


European Commission announces agreement on IAS Regulation

06 March 2014

European Commission announces agreement on IAS Regulation
MEPs and the Greek presidency of the Council have agreed plans to prevent the introduction or halt the spread of invasive alien species. The draft legislation, which would require EU member states to coordinate their efforts, provides for a ban on species declared to be of “Union concern”.

If endorsed by the committee of member states’ permanent representatives (COREPER) on Friday 7 March, the agreement is to be put to a vote in the Environment Committee on 19 March.

Read the full press release here

Marine Pathways Project Newsletter

04 March 2014

Marine Pathways Project Newsletter
The Marine Pathways Project is concerned with the management of pathways by which marine invasive non-native species may be introduced into the UK and Ireland and will therefore contribute to the delivery of the non indigenous species descriptor of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). Current funding will enable the project to run until March 2015.

A newsletter is produced to raise awareness of the Marine Pathways Project and provide a means of sharing information about current work being undertaken.

Contributions to the newsletter by stakeholders are also welcomed, for example, as a means by which to share ideas or raise concerns regarding the Marine Pathways Project or invasive non-native species.

Download the first newsletter here

New Code of Practice launched to encourage responsible pet ownership

21 February 2014

New Code of Practice launched to encourage responsible pet ownership

The Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA) and the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA) have joined forces to launch a new Code of Practice for traders and pet owners to help encourage responsible ownership.

The vast majority of non-native pets in the UK are ornamental fish and reptiles so the code outlines people’s responsibilities when they keep animals that are foreign to the UK, in particular the importance of making sure they do not escape into the wild and cause a problem to native wildlife.

The code covers three main issues for pet owners when it comes to buying and keeping a non-native pet:

  • The importance of not releasing the pet into the wild or allowing it to escape
  • The need to properly dispose of old bedding and pet litter so that eggs and pests can’t get into the wild
  • The importance for owners of researching and preparing themselves for all that’s involved in keeping their chosen pet for the whole of its life.

It also urges traders involved in selling pets to:

  • Make sure customers know and understand all the commitments involved for the pet they want to buy
  • Make sure pets are free of pests and parasites as far as possible when they’re sold

Click here for more information and here to download the Code of Practice.


Invasive non-native species in the Solway - pocket guide to identifying marine INNS

19 February 2014

Invasive non-native species in the Solway - pocket guide to identifying marine INNS

"The spread of marine invasive non-native species (INNS) can lead to financial costs for fisheries, aquaculture, commercial and leisure marine sectors. They can also damage local species and habitats which can impact on the food chain and biodiversity. A pocket guide is now available to help identify marine INNS in the Solway. Click here to download your copy from the Solway Firth Partnership website. Hard copies of the ID guide will be available shortly at harbours and ports around the Solway."


Wildlife Law: Control of Invasive Non-native Species

11 February 2014

Wildlife Law: Control of Invasive Non-native Species
The Law Commission have published a report Wildlife Law: Control of Invasive Non-native Species. This is the first item to be delivered from the Wildlife Law project, and was brought forward at the request of Defra and the Welsh Government to enable them to consider whether to introduce early legislation.

From the Law Commission:

"Invasive non-native species are ones that arrive as a result of human action and cause environmental and economic damage. They pose a significant threat to ecosystems as well as damaging property and infrastructure. Existing law does not contain sufficient powers to allow for their timely and effective control or eradication. Our recommendations in relation to species control orders will allow for a proportionate and necessary response to an increasing problem."

Click here to download a copy of the report

Invasion of alien species to Ireland on the increase

06 February 2014

Invasion of alien species to Ireland on the increase

Invasion of alien species to Ireland is on the increase with nearly four times more seen in the wild in the last century than the previous one. Help is needed to combat their threat to our biodiversity, economy and health.

  • 13% of the alien species are listed as invasive species which have a negative impact on our economy and biodiversity
  • The estimated annual cost of alien species to Ireland is €261 million
  • 31 identification sheets have been produced to help people identify some of the invasive species already in Ireland and others that might soon arrive
  • This is a call to everyone to help prevent their introduction to Ireland and the wild and to report sightings of them.

We all have our part to play in protecting Ireland’s biodiversity and economy” says Colette O’Flynn. She continues, “with the worrying increasing trend in invasions we must carefully consider the types of plants and animals we are bringing into the country and be sure that we do not allow the invasive species to enter into the wild”. To aid with identifying and reporting sightings of these invasive species, the National Biodiversity Data Centre has produced 31 identification sheets and supported development of the Invasives Ireland phone app by Longford County Council. Interestingly, half of the 12 invasive species recorded between 2001 and 2010 were first seen and reported by members of the public. These included reports of Siberian chipmunk, Chinese mitten-crab and Harlequin ladybird.

The report Ireland’s invasive and non-native species – trends in introductions published today by the National Biodiversity Data Centre [Thursday, February 6th, 2014] reveals their increase in introductions to our shores and looks at new invader species which could arrive in the future. To date, the majority of invasive species in Ireland are plants, but the future trend may be towards invertebrate and vertebrate species comprising a greater percentage of all new arrivals. Species such as Killer shrimp, Raccoon dog or the Oak processionary moth.

Colette O’Flynn, one of the report’s authors notes that ‘the percentage of invasive species in Ireland is comparable to other European countries as is the dramatic recent increase in introductions which is linked to increased movement of people and goods throughout the world’. Colette O’Flynn urges the “need for analysis to identify where the species are being introduced from and how they are getting here as they may be introduced through intentional trade or unintentional ‘hitchhiking’. Knowing this can help us see how best to prevent these species invading Ireland”.

The report also highlights that while the majority of species are found in the terrestrial environment the rate of increase in introductions is increasing for all environments with the greatest increase for the freshwater environment since 1980. The freshwater environment is also the only environment where analysis indicates that freshwater non-native species are more likely to be high impact invaders where they are introduced.

To download the identification sheets, see what invasive species we have in Ireland or if any are already reported in your area visit the National Invasive Species Database website http://invasives.biodiversityireland.ie/trends-report/.

Click here to download a copy of the report


Online forum for Local Action Groups

05 February 2014

Online forum for Local Action Groups
Following recommendations made at the Local Action Group Workshop 2014, Lyn Byrne from the Dee Invasive Non-native Species Project has set up an online forum for Local Action Groups. The forum will provide a space for groups to share ideas and resources, aiding increased collaboration between groups. To join the forum, contact Lyn.

Environment and Sustainability Committee report on invasive non-native species

13 January 2014

Environment and Sustainability Committee report on invasive non-native species
The Environment and Sustainability Committee of the National Assembly for Wales has undertaken a short inquiry into how the problem of invasive non-native species is being addressed in Wales.

Click here to read the report on the inquiry



Educational resources on Invasive Non-native Species

09 January 2014

Educational resources on Invasive Non-native Species
Wildscreen, a charity working globally to promote an appreciation of biodiversity and nature through the power of wildlife imagery, recently undertook a new project to help raise awareness of invasive non-native species, with help from the NNSS, Local Action Groups, and other experts.

The project involved the production of a number of educational resources for primary and secondary schools, and new species profiles for one of Wildscreen’s main initiatives, the ARKive website.

Click on the following links to view the resources:

Visit the invasive species pages of the ARKive website

Educational resources for 11-14 year olds

Educational resources for 7-11 year olds

Find more activities here, and an invasive species quiz here


Have your say - Forestry Commission Consultation on Grey Squirrel Policy

08 January 2014

Have your say - Forestry Commission Consultation on Grey Squirrel Policy
Defra and the Forestry Commission have launched a short consultation to help them decide whether they need to evolve Government policy for grey squirrel control in England. You can share your evidence or views on the future by completing an online survey.

For more information, or to complete the survey, click here. The consulation will run until 24 January 2014.


PhD Opportunity - Blue Build & Biosecurity - SAMS & University of Edinburgh

18 December 2013

PhD Opportunity - Blue Build & Biosecurity - SAMS & University of Edinburgh
Applications are invited for a PhD opportunity with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) and the University of Edinburgh: Blue Build & Biosecurity - Incorporating ecological science into marine infrastructure to minimize colonisation by invasive species.

This PhD is best suited to a student with and benthic marine-coastal ecological science training, but with an interest in policy processes and engineering designs.

Supervisors: Dr. E. J. Cook (SAMS),Dr Meriwether Wilson (University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences).

Click here for more information

Debates on EU Regulation

18 December 2013

Debates on EU Regulation

Click here to watch the debates on the EU Regulation on invasive non-native species from Friday, December 13


The Environmental Audit Committee announces its new inquiry on Invasive Species

18 December 2013

The Environmental Audit Committee announces its new inquiry on Invasive Species
The Environmental Audit Committee is launching a new inquiry on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. Click here for more information

The Environmental Audit Committee announces its new inquiry on Invasive Species

18 December 2013

The Environmental Audit Committee announces its new inquiry on Invasive Species
The Environmental Audit Committee is launching a new inquiry on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. For more information click here 

New changes to the NNSS website

10 December 2013

New changes to the NNSS website

The NNSS website has grown considerably since it was re-launched back in 2010. Much has changed and the site holds considerably more information than it did in those early days. With all the extra content it can be challenging to ensure users can easily find the information they’re looking for. To try to make sure the website is still easy to use our Media and Communications group has provided a number of recommendations for improvement to the structure and navigation of the site.

Work has already begun on restructuring our site map to better reflect the additional information on the site. Some of the key changes include:

  • Information relating to individual species should now be found under the ‘Species Information’ tab, this now includes risk assessments and Invasive Species Action Plans (ISAPs)
  • To reflect their importance we have introduced a new dedicated section on ‘Biosecurity and Prevention’. Be Plant Wise and Check Clean Dry now sit within this section, alongside other guidance and advice on biosecurity and prevention.
  • Local Action Groups now have their own dedicated section on our website, with Country Working Groups provided additional pages under the GB Coordination tab.

We will be making additional changes over the coming months, including some modification to our frontpage, the introduction of a non-native species training section and potentially a completely new method of navigating around the site.


NNSS article in Countryside Jobs Service Focus

10 December 2013

NNSS article in Countryside Jobs Service Focus
The Countryside Jobs Service recently published their December edition of Focus, an information resource with each edition providing an insight into a specific area of the countryside and conservation sectors.

The NNSS was invited to submit the lead article for the current edition Focus on Alien Species in association with GB Non-native Species Secretariat, which was published alongside other articles from Local Action Groups, NGOs, and industry.

Click here to view the publication

Cabi invasives blog post on Himalayan Balsam

10 December 2013

Cabi invasives blog post on Himalayan Balsam

The latest post on the Cabi invasives blog contains some interesting facts about Himalayan Balsam and its impact on UK invertebrates:

All invertebrate feeding groups are negatively affected by this plant, including

75% of spider species
64% of beetle species
58% of true bug species

Click here to read the full blog post


Local Action Groups Workshop

26 November 2013

Local Action Groups Workshop
When:               21/22 January 2014

Where:              Field Studies Centre, Montford Bridge, Preston Montford, Shrewsbury.

Registration:   Please fill in and return the Registration Form to linda.raine@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk

The GB NNSS will be hosting the Local Action Groups Workshop on Tuesday 21st - Wednesday 22nd January 2014.  The workshop will start at 1130 on Tuesday and finish at 1600 on Wednesday. 

Programme to follow.

For further details, please contact Linda Raine (linda.raine@ahvla.gsi.gov.uk)

GB Strategy Review 2013

18 October 2013

GB Strategy Review 2013
In 2008, the Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain (the GB Strategy) was published. This was built on the recommendations of the 2003 Defra–led policy review, and developed in close collaboration between government, industry and conservation NGOs.

Five years on from its original publication, the GB Strategy is now being reviewed. The NNSS website has a page dedicated to this review, providing supporting information and documents.

Click here to visit the GB Strategy Review page

Event Biosecurity Support Pack launched

04 October 2013

Event Biosecurity Support Pack launched
The Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-Native Species Initiative have just launched an Event Biosecurity Support Pack.

"The pack is aimed to assist event organisers and introduces them to what freshwater invasive non-native species are, their impacts, how they spread and what they and their participants can do to help prevent this."

Click here to download a copy

For a high-resolution printable version, contact Bekka Corrie-Close at: bekka@scrt.co.uk


Call dates for COST Action Alien Challenge Short Term Scientific Missions 2013

12 September 2013


The COST Action Alien Challenge is calling for proposals for Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs) 2013.

The COST Action Alien Challenge will facilitate enhanced knowledge gathering and sharing through a network of experts, providing support to a European IAS information system which will enable effective and informed decision-making in relation to IAS. STSMs will facilitate knowledge exchange and acquisition, and help to implement the Action’s objectives by fostering collaboration, technology transfer and by tackling various research needs.

Scientists interested in an STSM should submit a proposal by e-mail to Dr. Frances Lucy (lucy.frances@itsligo.ie) and Dr. Elena Tricarico (elena.tricarico@unifi.it).

Please note that proposals can be submitted for one of two 2013 calls, either before September 6th* or before December 31st.

For more information, click here to download a leaflet

EU Regulation proposed

09 September 2013

EU Regulation proposed
Today the EU published its proposals for a Regulation on invasive non-native species. For more information click the link below:

https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/nonnativespecies/index.cfm?sectionid=7

Asian hornets in the media

06 September 2013

Asian hornets in the media
Asian hornets have recently been in the media following a suspected sighting in Kent, which was later confirmed not to be Asian hornet but a native European hornet. To date, there have been no confirmed sightings of the Asian hornet in Great Britain. However, there have been fairly frequent reports of sightings which, on investigation, have turned out not to be Asian hornet.

The hornets have been spreading widely within France since 2004 (and more recently to Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy) and it is quite possible that they could arrive in Great Britain, although probably not as “swarms” as reported in recent media coverage.

An ID sheet for the Asian hornet is available and we would encourage beekeepers and members of the public to look out for them and report suspected sightings of the hornets, or their nests, by emailing (with a photograph where possible): alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk

If Asian hornets do establish in GB, they could cause significant impacts. A response plan, developed by The Food and Environment Research Agency, Defra and the Non-Native Species Secretariat, was published in 2012 to manage any confirmed findings in England and Wales. This has been published on the National Bee Unit website at www.nationalbeeunit.com/asianhornet


Challenges and Choices consultation

27 August 2013

Challenges and Choices consultation
"We are entering the last month of the Challenges and Choices consultation which includes information on INNS as a Water Framework Directive pressure. Environment Agency staff and external stakeholders still have the opportunity to review the water body risk assessments."

Click here to download a note describing the WFD risk assessments, which contains a link from which you can download the INNS information. Please send any comments and suggestions for improvements to Ask_Evidence@environment-agency.gov.uk 

Click here to download the key messages document for INNS risk assessments.

Update from CABI on biocontrol projects

06 August 2013

Update from CABI on biocontrol projects
"Since April 2011, Defra has been funding specialist scientists to investigate the biological control of invasive, non-native aquatic and riverside weeds. The technique has the potential to play an important role in protecting aquatic and riparian habitats where chemical and mechanical control options are impractical or prove to be prohibitively expensive; and to help meet requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive. We are targeting Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii), Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides). These projects complement CABI’s on-going work on the biocontrol of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and Water fern (Azolla filiculoides). This is the second in a series of annual summary notes on progress made and covers progress to the end of June 2013."

Read the full update here

Dikerogammarus haemobaphes Briefing Note 2

27 June 2013

Dikerogammarus haemobaphes Briefing Note 2
In September 2012 a new Ponto-Caspian shrimp, Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, was confirmed in the River Severn. It has since been found in a number of other waterbodies across England.

The Killer Shrimp Task Group, comprising members from Defra, Natural England, Welsh Government, SEPA, Natural Resources Wales, and the Broads Authority, are advising on the response to this species and issue briefing notes with the latest information about this species (including a distribution map of findings to date).

The 2nd briefing note can be found here: Dikerogammarus haemobaphes alert

Japanese Knotweed problems weeded out with new code of practice from national trade body

30 May 2013

Japanese Knotweed problems weeded out with new code of practice from national trade body
The UK property sector now has a framework to control Japanese Knotweed, with the launch of a standardised policy, offering clear guidance on how to tackle this troublesome plant.

National trade body The Property Care Association (PCA) has developed
‘The Code of Practice for The Management of Japanese Knotweed’ offering a concise and thorough guide to the management and control of the invasive weed.

This is the first time that a protocol for the investigation, reporting and treatment of this highly invasive and economically important pest plant has been written and adopted by those who are ultimately responsible for its control.

The launch of the code marks a further progression for the PCA’s Invasive Weed Control Group, set-up last year to signpost consumers to professional treatment companies offering assurance, standardisation and certainty in tackling the problem.

The PCA has worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) - supported by the Council of Mortgage Lenders and The Building Societies Association - together with Japanese knotweed control companies that currently operate within the UK, to develop the Invasive Weed Control Group.

This new aspect of the Association coincided with the publication of new guidance from RICS in 2012 entitled Japanese Knotweed and Residential Property, authored by Phil Parnham.

Steve Hodgson, Chief Executive Office of the PCA, said: “Japanese Knotweed has been the subject of controversy in the UK property sector, and has even caused problems to home buyers trying to obtain mortgages on houses affected by the weed.

“Publication of this new code sets a robust measure of competence in the market and will help address issues associated with Japanese knotweed.

“At a stroke, the code sets the standard for those involved in the control of Japanese Knotweed to aspire to, and clearly illustrates the commitment to quality, value and service members of the PCA are committed to uphold.”

The code of practice, drawn up with input from the invasive weed control section of the PCA and ecologist Dr Mark Fennell, includes details on legislation and inspection, biosecurity, control, reporting, warranties, insurance and bonds.

www.property-care.org


Breaking new ground at Chelsea to help "Stop the Spread"

20 May 2013

Breaking new ground at Chelsea to help "Stop the Spread"
Imported plant pests and diseases such as Chalara ash dieback, Oak Processionary Moth and Phytophthora ramorum, and invasive non-native species such as Floating Pennywort and Water Primrose, have huge potential to change how our landscape looks and severely impact our biodiversity and wildlife. A groundbreaking Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 from The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) will highlight this issue in a way never seen before at the Show.


The garden, by designer Jo Thompson, is entitled “Stop the Spread” and will present two distinct characters: beautiful and ugly. A beautiful sunken garden featuring herbaceous planting and a sculpture by Tom Stogdon is bordered by quintessential native trees and lush shade-loving planting. This is starkly contrasted with sinister and shocking elements: an avenue of dead trees, an ominous pool with an island holding a single sapling, and concrete-panelled walls surrounding the garden covered with a delicate pattern that is not as innocent as it looks. Here lies the message of the garden: British trees and plants are under threat from pests, diseases and invasive species – help us stop the spread!

The ‘Stop the Spread’ garden aims to inspire the public to play their part in preserving our horticultural heritage, biodiversity and wildlife by adopting good practices to minimise their chances of unwittingly spreading plant pests and diseases, or invasive non-native species. These include sourcing plants locally, being more patient in planting small plants and watching them grow, cleaning footwear and bikes and other equipment after visiting the countryside; checking, cleaning and drying water sports clothing and equipment after each use; and disposing of plants and garden waste safely, never letting them escape into the countryside.

Fera is undertaking this project as part of its responsibilities under the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan and in support of the GB Invasive Non-native Species Framework Strategy, to raise awareness and show the public how they can help prevent the spread of harmful plant pests, diseases and invasive non-native species that threaten our landscapes, gardens and wildlife.

Dr David Slawson, Head of Plant Health Public Engagement at Fera, commented “The current Chalara ash dieback crisis is an indication that our trees are facing an unprecedented threat from pests and diseases. It’s really important that we all work together to help protect the British countryside for future generations to enjoy. This garden is a “call to arms” to the great British public to help stop the spread by changing our behaviour, even in small ways.”

For designer Jo Thompson, at Chelsea for the fourth time, the garden contains a personal message: “We are increasingly guilty of taking our landscapes for granted. Our ancestors nurtured these landscapes in the patient knowledge that they would never see them fully grown but future generations would. I'm keen that we follow their lead - for example we can safeguard our heritage through simple actions such as the careful buying of plants and large specimen trees and shrubs from trusted growers and making sure any unwanted plants are composted carefully – never dumped in the wild.

The National Trust is sponsoring the garden and is lending their support to its development. Ian Wright, Plant Health Specialist at the National Trust said: “As illustrated with the recent Chalara ash dieback outbreak, a large proportion of both our ornamental garden ash and native ash trees are at risk which could have a huge impact on our gardens and countryside as we know it.

The Trust cares for 200 gardens across the country and we look after one of the largest cultivated gardening collections in the world.

Gardens and landscapes which have been loved for centuries are changing due to threats such as pests and diseases at a faster rate over the last 25 years than at any other time in history. In order to keep our special places special we need everyone’s help to limit and hopefully eradicate the pests and diseases. We hope this ‘Stop the Spread’ garden will help raise awareness of new pests, diseases and invasive species, and look forward to helping the garden take shape over the coming months.

The show garden follows work that is already underway to help stop the spread of invasive non-native species through the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ and ‘Be Plant Wise’ campaigns, both of which have ‘stop the spread’ as their core message. Invasive non-native species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity worldwide and cause significant impacts for native species, habitats and ecosystems. They can also choke waterways, increase the risk of flooding, take over whole landscapes and pose a threat to human health. Stopping their spread is more important than ever. This can be done by keeping garden plants in the garden, never allowing them to escape into the wild and cleaning boots, tools and other equipment that could transmit soil, seeds or plant fragments.

For more information visit the website


Tenth Stakeholder Forum on Non-Native Species

26 March 2013

Tenth Stakeholder Forum on Non-Native Species

The Tenth Stakeholder Forum on Non-Native Species will be held at The Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Tuesday 18 June 2013.

If you are interested in attending please download and complete the registration form and return it to linda.raine@fera.gsi.gov.uk.

When available, the agenda will be published here.


Wood Wise Spring 2013: Invasive species management in woodland habitats

15 March 2013

Wood Wise Spring 2013: Invasive species management in woodland habitats
The latest issue of Wood Wise, a technical publication from the Woodland Trust, is focused on invasive non-native species and the problems involved in their management in woodland habitats.

It features case studies from the Woodland Trust, Environment Agency and New Forest Non-Native Plants Project. Species covered include American Skunk-cabbage, non-native deer, Floating Pennywort, Giant Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and Rhododendron.

Click here to download a copy


Invasive alien species, a growing problem for environment and health

21 February 2013

Invasive alien species, a growing problem for environment and health

The European Environment Agency has published two new reports on invasive species. These suggest that the risks posed to biodiversity, human health and economics are greater than they previously thought.

Follow this link for more information, and to view the reports.


Sale of invasive water plants banned to protect wildlife

31 January 2013

Sale of invasive water plants banned to protect wildlife

The sale of five invasive non-native aquatic plant species is to be banned in order to protect wildlife Environment Minister Richard Benyon announced today.

The banned plants are Water Fern, Parrot’s Feather, Floating Pennywort, Australian Swamp Stone-crop (New Zealand Pygmyweed), and Water Primrose.

Invasive non-native species can have a devastating cost to the economy, costing £1.7 billion to control. Floating pennywort, which can grow up to eight inches a day, costs the British economy £23.5 million per year.

Environment minister Richard Benyon said:

“Tough laws to curb the sale of these plants could save the country millions of pounds as well as protecting wildlife such as fish and native plants.

“But as well as saving money and protecting wildlife the ban will also help maintain access to rivers and lakes for anglers and watersport fans.”

In the past the plants have been sold and planted in garden ponds, but have escaped into the wild taking over from native species and damaging some of our most sensitive habitats.

The plants form dense mats in water, depleting oxygen and light availability, causing declines in the numbers of fish and other aquatic species. They also reduce access to waterways for boating and angling and increase flood risk which, taken together, can cost millions of pounds per year.

The ban means that all retailers will now have to stop selling these plants or face a fine of up to £5,000 and possibly up to six months in prison. Retailers have a year to adjust to the ban.

Defra, trade representatives and conservation bodies, have also been working to raise awareness of garden owners and horticulturalists to the dangers of spreading non-native species through the Be Plant Wise campaign and have given widespread support to the ban.

Keith Davenport of the Ornamental and Aquatic trades association said:

"We’ve recommended retailers not to sell these five plant species, in some instances, for at least a decade. So this is welcome news from Defra, making it very clear there is now a ban in place. We will continue to actively encourage our members to support the Be Plant Wise campaign.”

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust’s Head of Conservation Policy, Carrie Hume said:

“Thankfully, some of the most destructive non-native plants will no longer be on sale in our garden centres. This is the right move. The environmental and economic cost of dealing with this problem is already huge and dealing with it now is a great saving for the future.”

Press enquiries 020 7238 5391; Public enquiries 08459 335577


Report on Biosecurity for Anglers

08 January 2013

Report on Biosecurity for Anglers

Stuart Crofts, a tutor at the Riverfly Partnership, has produced a new report; Biosecurity for Anglers which contains detailed guidelines for angling clubs, associations and syndicates, and for fishing guides, gillies and instructors.

Follow this link to view the report


Innovation award for The Student Invasive Non Native Group

07 January 2013

Innovation award for The Student Invasive Non Native Group

The Student Invasive Non Native Species local action group (SINNG) based at Cornwall College Newquay, supported with funding from Defra, was judged to be the “best example of innovation in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) course or training programme” by the NEF Institute of Knowledge and Innovation at a ceremony in London recently. Project co-ordinator Nicola Morris, seen here with Maggie Philbin (TeenTech & BBC) and Tony Maloney (National Grid) collecting the award on behalf of the 170+ members of SINNG – said “It was an absolute honour to be able to collect the award on behalf of the incredible hard working students I am privileged to work with. It is great to have all the hard work being recognised and shows that volunteering is a very worthwhile and valued aspect of conservation work.” SINNG was nominated for delivering effective action (approaching 4,000 hours) on INNS and increased student academic engagement. Professor Sa’ad Medhat, CEO of NEF, explained that nominees “were judged for their clarity of intended purpose, uniqueness of approach, potential impact, and whether they stimulated and galvanised others.”

Back at Newquay, several SINNG members were congratulated by Philip Rees, Chair of Governors of Cornwall College. Current BSc Applied Zoology student Tracey Twomey said: “I’ve been involved in some of the practical work helping to clear invasive species, as well as helping at events such as the Boscastle Balsam Bash, talking to members of the public about how they can help control the spread of invasive non-native species. It’s great that SINNG has won the award; it feels really good that all the hard work put in by volunteers has been recognised and shows that we are doing a good job!"


Conference on “New Zealand Pygmyweed: Tackling the Challenge” - 20 March 2013

13 December 2012

Conference on “New Zealand Pygmyweed: Tackling the Challenge” - 20 March 2013

Since its introduction to Europe, New Zealand pygmyweed Crassula helmsii has become a highly invasive non-native plant which is notoriously difficult to control and eradicate. The New Forest Non-Native Plants Project is hosting a one-day conference on this problematic species, for land owners, land managers, naturalists and ecologists. This will provide an opportunity to share experience and to find out about a wide range of control techniques which have been tried in the UK and elsewhere in Europe. The RINSE (Reducing the Impact of Invasive Species in Europe) Project is providing financial support for this event.

View the conference programme here

Places are limited and booking is essential, please contact Catherine Chatters, New Forest Non-Native Plants Officer at CatherineC@hwt.org.uk or telephone 023 8042 4205.


December NNSS Newsletter now available

10 December 2012

LIFE on the frontline against invasive species

10 December 2012

LIFE on the frontline against invasive species

From the European Commision:

"Invasive species (IS) present one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the EU, and globally, and will shortly be the subject of new legislative proposals to be published by the European Commission. More than 200 LIFE projects have directly or indirectly tackled this issue, achieving some outstanding results and providing important insights into where and how legislation can be effective."

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/features/2012/invasive.htm


New code for preventing animal escapes from zoos

07 December 2012

New code for preventing animal escapes from zoos

The Bern Convention and the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN, in collaboration with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) have developed the European Code of Conduct for Zoological Gardens and Aquaria on Invasive Alien Species.

The aim of this document is to provide guidance to zoological gardens and aquaria to strengthen their role in biodiversity conservation in Europe, by helping to mitigate the problems related to the spread of Invasive Alien Species.

For more information and to download a copy of the code, click here


New report: "Identifying best practice in management of activities on Marine Protected Areas"

05 December 2012

New report: "Identifying best practice in management of activities on Marine Protected Areas"

A report was commissioned in October 2010 to review how certain activities are being controlled to mitigate impact to protected habitats and species, and to identify examples of best practice. A section on non-native species and ballast water is included.

The report is intended to better inform Natural England and other relevant (or management) authorities on activities which may cause damage to MPA interests (both Natura 2000 sites and MCZs) and the potential management options available.

For more information and to download a copy of the report, click here


Local Action Group Workshop 2013

29 November 2012

Local Action Group Workshop 2013

The next Local Action Group Workshop will be held at Preston Montford FSC Centre on 29-30 January 2013. All Local Action Group representatives are invited to come along and share experiences and ideas. Places are limited, so please contact us at nnss@fera.gsi.gov.uk as soon as possible to register your interest.


Breaking new ground at Chelsea to help "Stop the Spread"

29 November 2012

Breaking new ground at Chelsea to help "Stop the Spread"

Imported plant pests and diseases such as Chalara ash dieback, Oak Processionary Moth and Phytophthora ramorum, and invasive non-native species such as Floating Pennywort and Water Primrose, have huge potential to change how our landscape looks and severely impact our biodiversity and wildlife. A groundbreaking Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2013 from The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) will highlight this issue in a way never seen before at the Show.

The garden, by designer Jo Thompson, is entitled “Stop the Spread” and will present two distinct characters: beautiful and ugly. A beautiful sunken garden featuring herbaceous planting and a sculpture by Tom Stogdon is bordered by quintessential native trees and lush shade-loving planting. This is starkly contrasted with sinister and shocking elements: an avenue of dead trees, an ominous pool with an island holding a single sapling, and concrete-panelled walls surrounding the garden covered with a delicate pattern that is not as innocent as it looks. Here lies the message of the garden: British trees and plants are under threat from pests, diseases and invasive species – help us stop the spread!

The ‘Stop the Spread’ garden aims to inspire the public to play their part in preserving our horticultural heritage, biodiversity and wildlife by adopting good practices to minimise their chances of unwittingly spreading plant pests and diseases, or invasive non-native species. These include sourcing plants locally, being more patient in planting small plants and watching them grow, cleaning footwear and bikes and other equipment after visiting the countryside; checking, cleaning and drying water sports clothing and equipment after each use; and disposing of plants and garden waste safely, never letting them escape into the countryside.

Fera is undertaking this project as part of its responsibilities under the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan and in support of the GB Invasive Non-native Species Framework Strategy, to raise awareness and show the public how they can help prevent the spread of harmful plant pests, diseases and invasive non-native species that threaten our landscapes, gardens and wildlife.

Dr David Slawson, Head of Plant Health Public Engagement at Fera, commented “The current Chalara ash dieback crisis is an indication that our trees are facing an unprecedented threat from pests and diseases. It’s really important that we all work together to help protect the British countryside for future generations to enjoy. This garden is a “call to arms” to the great British public to help stop the spread by changing our behaviour, even in small ways.”

For designer Jo Thompson, at Chelsea for the fourth time, the garden contains a personal message: “We are increasingly guilty of taking our landscapes for granted. Our ancestors nurtured these landscapes in the patient knowledge that they would never see them fully grown but future generations would. I'm keen that we follow their lead - for example we can safeguard our heritage through simple actions such as the careful buying of plants and large specimen trees and shrubs from trusted growers and making sure any unwanted plants are composted carefully – never dumped in the wild.”

The National Trust is sponsoring the garden and is lending their support to its development. Ian Wright, Plant Health Specialist at the National Trust said: “As illustrated with the recent Chalara ash dieback outbreak, a large proportion of both our ornamental garden ash and native ash trees are at risk which could have a huge impact on our gardens and countryside as we know it".

The Trust cares for 200 gardens across the country and we look after one of the largest cultivated gardening collections in the world.

Gardens and landscapes which have been loved for centuries are changing due to threats such as pests and diseases at a faster rate over the last 25 years than at any other time in history. In order to keep our special places special we need everyone’s help to limit and hopefully eradicate the pests and diseases. We hope this ‘Stop the Spread’ garden will help raise awareness of new pests, diseases and invasive species, and look forward to helping the garden take shape over the coming months.”

The show garden follows work that is already underway to help stop the spread of invasive non-native species through the Check, Clean, Dry and Be Plant Wise campaigns, both of which have ‘stop the spread’ as their core message. Invasive non-native species are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity worldwide and cause significant impacts for native species, habitats and ecosystems. They can also choke waterways, increase the risk of flooding, take over whole landscapes and pose a threat to human health. Stopping their spread is more important than ever. This can be done by keeping garden plants in the garden, never allowing them to escape into the wild and cleaning boots, tools and other equipment that could transmit soil, seeds or plant fragments.


Dikerogammarus haemobaphes - Interim Briefing Note

13 November 2012

Dikerogammarus haemobaphes - Interim Briefing Note

In September 2012 a new Ponto-Caspian shrimp, Dikerogammarus haemobaphes, was confirmed in the River Severn. It has since been found in a number of other waterbodies across England.

The Killer Shrimp Task Group, comprising members from Defra, Natural England, Welsh Government, SEPA, CCW, and the Broads Authority, are advising on the response to this species and have issued an interim briefing note (including a distribution map of findings to date).  Subsequent briefing notes will be produced as necessary.

The briefing note can be found here: D. haemobaphes interim briefing note

Identification guidance for this and other Ponto-Caspian species is available here: Ponto-Caspian non-native species identification guidance

With the finding of this new shrimp it is more important than ever that we take care to follow biosecurity protocols and make sure to CHECK, CLEAN, DRY when visiting water bodies.

Other tools to help promote biosecurity are available from the NNSS website, including:


Recognition and management guides for invasive alien plants in Belgium

12 November 2012

Recognition and management guides for invasive alien plants in Belgium

Recognition and management guides for invasive alien plants in Belgium have been published by the Liege University and Gembloux AgroBio Tech.


The recognition guide provides elements for the identification of the following terrestrial and aquatic invasive alien plants: Aster spp. (Asteraceae), Azolla filiculoides (Salviniaceae), Crassula helmsii (Crassulaceae, EPPO A2 List), Egeria densa (Hydrocharitaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Elodea canadensis (Hydrocharitaceae), Elodea nuttalli (Hydrocharitaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Fallopia japonica, Fallopia sachalinensis, F. x bohemica (Polygonaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Heracleum mantegazzianum (Apiaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Hydrocotyle ranunculoides (Apiaceae, EPPO A2 List), Impatiens glandulifera (Balsaminaceae, EPPO List of IAP) and I. parviflora (Balsaminaceae), Lagarosiphon major (Hydrocharitaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Lemna minuta and L. turionifera (Araceae), Lysichiton americanus (Araceae, EPPO List of IAP), Ludwigia grandiflora and L. peploides (Onagraceae, EPPO A2 List), Myriophyllum aquaticum (Haloragaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Persicaria wallichii (Polygonaceae), Solidago spp. (Asteraceae), Spiraea alba, S. douglasii and S. x billardii (Rosaceae).


Guidance on the management of invasive alien plants is also provided in a series of documents. One guide deals with the mechanical and chemical control of Heracleum mantegazzianum, Impatiens glandulifera and Fallopia spp. along water courses. Prevention, eradication and containment recommendations are provided in another guide for Crassula helmsii, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides, Ludwigia spp. and Myriophyllum aquaticum. Summary management spreadsheets are also available for Acer rufinerve (Sapindaceae), Cotoneaster horizontalis (Rosaceae), Heracleum mantegazzianum, Impatiens glandulifera, Falopia spp., and Spirae spp.

Visit the website for more information.


New angling biosecurity sign

12 November 2012

New angling biosecurity sign

A new sign has been developed (with funding from Defra) to promote good biosecurity to anglers, and is available to view on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website.

The sign has received support from the The Rivers Trust, The Angling Trust, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland, Scottish Federation for Coarse Angling, Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, Welsh Government, and Scottish Government. Fixed plastic versions of the sign will be installed at waterbodies across England, Scotland and Wales.


To view the sign click here


Chalara dieback of ash

29 October 2012

Chalara dieback of ash

Chalara dieback of ash is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea (C. fraxinea). The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and can lead to tree death.

Ash trees suffering with C. fraxinea infection have been found widely across Europe. In February 2012 it was found in a consignment of infected trees sent from a nursery in the Netherlands to a nursery in Buckinghamshire, England. Since then it has been found in a number of locations and situations in England and Scotland. All these sites had received stocks of young ash plants from nurseries within the past five years.

In October 2012, Fera scientists confirmed a small number of cases in East Anglia in ash trees which do not appear to have any association with recently supplied nursery stock.

C. fraxinea is being treated as a quarantine pest under national emergency measures, and it is important that suspected cases of the disease are reported.

Click for further information including where to report suspected cases, a Pest alert, and a Pictorial guide to symptoms


Help the HPA’s mosquito recording scheme

26 October 2012

Help the HPA’s mosquito recording scheme

The Medical Entomology and Zoonoses Ecology Group (MEZE) at the Health Protection Agency are co-ordinating the Mosquito Recording Scheme. This project aims to collate and enhance existing data on the distribution of all British mosquitoes in order to fill the gaps in current understanding of mosquito distributions and to encourage the sharing of up-to-date distribution data.

This will improve understanding of the public health risk posed by mosquitoes and mosquito-borne infections. At the current time, the mosquito recording scheme does not test mosquitoes for any pathogens they may carry.

Individuals and groups are invited to assist in the development of the database on mosquito distributions by sending in any mosquitoes collected, along with details of:

  • date of collection
  • specific location (grid reference)
  • general location (nearest town/village)
  • local habitat (e.g. woodland, pasture)
  • contact details of the individual sending in the sample

More information and details of where to send mosquitoes can be found at:

http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/Mosquitoes/MosquitoRecordingScheme/


SAMS workshop - marine invasive species identification

04 September 2012

SAMS workshop - marine invasive species identification

This two-day course introduces you to a range of invasive species found in UK waters, and the various options that exist for the management and control of these species.

find out more


Update on biocontrol projects funded by Defra (WFD)

04 September 2012

Update on biocontrol projects funded by Defra (WFD)

Since April 2011, Defra (Water Framework Directive) has provided funding for CABI to carry out research into the potential for the biological control of invasive non-native weeds that are having an impact on aquatic and riparian habitats, including:

  • Australian swamp stonecrop (Crassula helmsii)
  • Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
  • Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunucloides)

These projects join CABI’s on-going work on the biocontrol of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) and floating fairy fern Azolla filiculoides.

As part of this work, CABI are preparing annual updates on progress made. 

Follow this link to download the update on biocontrol projects for 2012


IUCN ISSG Survey on invasive species in Protected Areas

28 August 2012

IUCN ISSG Survey on invasive species in Protected Areas

Message from the chair of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group:

"The Bern Convention and the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group are developing, with the support of EUROPARC and of WCPA, “Guidelines on Protected Areas and Invasive Species in Europe”.  We kindly ask you to help us collect information and opinions on this topic.

We developed a synthetic web survey (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LG66TKT), that we expect will take only 15 minutes of your time to complete. You will be asked to respond for a specific protected area, and to provide its WDPA ID (in case check the WDPA ID at http://www.wdpa.org/). You will also be asked to provide a lists of the top most harmful invasive animals and plants (up to 5 for each group).

The survey is meant for biologists, park managers, park rangers or other experts and practitioners working with protected areas. Feel free to forward this message to other colleagues that might provide information on the issue.

To know more about the project, see an introductory presentation at http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/nature/EcoNetworks/Documents/2011/ppt/Monaco%20Protected%20Areas%20and%20IAS%20STBG%20def.pdf, and if you have any queries about the project please contact Andrea Monaco (amonk2008@gmail.com) or Piero Genovesi (piero.genovesi@isprambiente.it).

The results of the survey will be of great help for our attempt to develop guidance on the issue. We believe that protected areas can play a crucial role in addressing this threat, not only in preventing and mitigating the impacts of invasive species in their territory, but also informing and involving the public and catalyzing action outside their borders."


ISSG events at the World Conservation Conference

20 August 2012

ISSG events at the World Conservation Conference

The ISSG is organizing several events at the World Conservation Conference, that will be held in Jeju, Korea, next September (from 6 to 15).

  • In cooperation with the Council of Europe and the WCPA the ISSG are organizing a knowledge cafe on the management of invasive species in protected areas (http://portals.iucn.org/2012forum/?q=0140).
  • Together with the Reintroduction Specialist Group, the ISSG are organizing a knowledge cafe to present the revised IUCN guidelines on reintroductions (http://portals.iucn.org/2012forum/?q=0671).
  • On Sunday 9 15.30-16.30, at the Species Pavillon, the ISSG will present the ongoing effort, carried on with the IUCN Red List, to assess the impact of invasives on threatened species.

Consultation - Law Commision Review of Wildlife Law (including Non-native Species)

14 August 2012

Consultation - Law Commision Review of Wildlife Law (including Non-native Species)

Open date: 14 August 2012

Close date: 30 November 2012

The Law Commision is carrying out a consultation on their review of Wildlife Law, including non-native species.  More information, including the consultation papers, are available from their website:

http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/consultations/wildlife.htm


Free marine invasive species ID workshop from the Clyde Forum, Scotland

08 August 2012

Free marine invasive species ID workshop from the Clyde Forum, Scotland

Free marine invasive species ID workshop from the Clyde Forum, Scotland:

"Following on from the publication of the Biosecurity Plan, The Firth of Clyde Forum (http://www.clydeforum.com/) are publishing a guide to marine invasive non-native species (INNS) in the Clyde. To help people to use the guide and increase reporting of INNS we are organising 2 FREE identification training sessions.

The sessions are identical and facilitated by the Scottish Association for Marine Science. They will run on the 23rd of August at the Royal Gourock Yacht Club from 1-4 pm and 6-9pm, refreshments included.

The sessions will be non technical and no previous knowledge is required. We are aiming for an audience of people who regularly see the bottom of boats and under the water e.g. aquaculture managers, boat yard operators and divers. Other groups include marina managers and yacht clubs or special interest groups who do beach/coastline surveys."

All are welcome, but priority will be given to those working or living close the Clyde.

Contact Sarah Brown for more details.


New vacancy - Project Officer Bollin Valley LAG

24 July 2012

New vacancy - Project Officer Bollin Valley LAG

From the National Trust:

IRC1657 - Project Officer Bollin Valley LAG
National Trust, Quarry Bank Mill, Styal, Wilmslow, Cheshire

£21,000 (pro rata) per year
Fixed-term contract (until 31 March 2015) Part-time (30 hours per week)

About the role
The Bollin Local Action Group was formally adopted in 2011 following a successful stakeholder workshop in 2010. It was established to help identify, control and where possible eradicate invasive non-native species in the River Bollin catchment. This will be done using a co-ordinated approach and is supported by a network of around 20 partner organisations, including the National Trust.

As our Project Officer on this exciting and worthwhile scheme, one of your first tasks will be to work with local communities, landowners and partners to help put in place a plan that will allow this important project to continue beyond the current funding from DEFRA. This will allow us to monitor the river and ensure that native species can thrive here for years to come. You will work closely with both volunteers and professionals alike, prepare reports and papers throughout the project and highlight the extent, spread and impact of invasive species. And so everyone knows what is happening with the project and feels involved with our work, you’ll hold regular meetings, talks and workshops and put together press releases.

About you
Your background is in ecology, biology or countryside management, and you’ll already have a good knowledge of non native invasive species, particular those associated with freshwater habitats. We’d also like you to have a degree (or equivalent qualification) in a related discipline, plus an impressive understanding of the latest ecological surveying and mapping techniques. You’ll be an enthusiastic champion of the project, and enjoy talking to a variety of people from all walks of life. It’s important that you can prioritise your own work load and if you are familiar with the Bollin Valley area, that would be even better.

Closing Date
17 August

Further details
National Trust Jobs website www.nationaltrustjobs.org.uk/
Quick link http://tinyurl.com/ckczh2g


New report on the number of non-native species in Great Britain

11 July 2012

New report on the number of non-native species in Great Britain

Nearly 2000 non-native species established in Great Britain

A major new Defra funded report has found that there has been a dramatic increase over time in the number of non-native species arriving in Britain.

In the six decades from 1950 over 600 non-native species have arrived in Britain. Invasive non-native species are considered to be one of the five major threats to biodiversity, and have been estimated to cost the UK economy £1.7 billion per annum.

The findings are contained within a new report, “Non-Native Species in Great Britain: establishment, detection and reporting to inform effective decision making”, which is published today.

Although the majority of non-native species are not considered invasive those that are can cause major ecological or socio-economic impacts, and generally become permanent burdens if they establish themselves in the natural environment. Overall about 15% of the species established in Britain are considered to have a negative impact.

The review arises from the GB Non-Native Species Information Portal project funded by Defra and coordinated by the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology and the Marine Biological Association. Of particular note was the involvement of the Botanical Society of the British Isles who provided information for all the plant species (the largest group of established non-native species).

The research team looked at how we can enhance the ability to detect and report non-native species in Great Britain, creating a new database of nearly 4000 species within the GB Non-Native Species Information Portal (GB-NNSIP). Nearly 2000 of the species on the database are considered to be established (breeding) in Britain. Data on all of the species can be accessed through the portal’s website at: www.nonnativespecies.org

An integral part of the GB-NNSIP is a rapid-reporting system whereby particularly important new arrivals can be immediately notified to the relevant bodies. One such species, the Asian Hornet, is not yet present in Great Britain but scientists believe could arrive soon, potentially having a serious impact on honey bees and other pollinators on which it preys. Anyone that suspects they have seen this species is encouraged to send in a photograph through the GB-NNSIP’s online recording website ‘Recording Invasive Species Counts’, which can also be used to report sightings of 19 other key species including Water Primrose, American Bullfrog, Carpet Sea-squirt, Tree of heaven, and American skunk-cabbage.

Dr Helen Roy from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology led the research for the report. She announced the publication of the report at the Organisational Workshop for the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership (9-10 July 2012), convened by the Convention on Biological Diversity, at which she was selected as an expert to represent the United Kingdom. Dr Helen Roy said, “The portal is an excellent example of how collaboration amongst different organisations is vital in addressing potential threats to biodiversity. By sharing information the data compiled give us a comprehensive understanding of non-native species, allowing us to respond rapidly to the arrival of new species. The portal also provides us with a great tool to link with wider European and global initiatives to tackle emerging threats from invasive non-native species.”

The review found:

  • There has been an increase over time in the number of non-native species arriving in Britain and those becoming established. 528 species arrived during 1950-1999 compared to 417 species during 1900-1949 and 250 species during 1850-1899. There have been at least a further 125 new arrivals since 2000.
  • Most of the non-native species that are established within Britain originate from Europe. However, in recent decades the rate of new arrivals originating from Europe is slowing and temperate Asia and North America are both becoming major contributors to the non-native fauna and flora of Great Britain.
  • There are 1875 established non-native species in Great Britain in total. The majority are higher plants (1377 species) with Insects as the next most numerous group (278 species).
  • Most (1684 species) of the documented established non-native species are found within the terrestrial environment.

Dr Niall Moore from the Non-native Species Secretariat said, “The Non-native Species Information Portal is a key outcome of Governments’ long-term commitment to tackle the serious problems posed by invasive non-native species. It provides us with the basic information we need on which to base objective and sound policy: we need information on trends to see where to put our effort in future years and we need greater public involvement – provided through RISC. We also need to be alert to new species turning up so we can respond rapidly and hopefully keep them out – the Asian hornet is a good example.”

Dr Gay Marris from the Food and Environment Research Agency said, “By alerting the public and professionals to the highly invasive non-native Asian hornet we can (hopefully) prevent its establishment and therefore reduce the threat to our honey bees, other beneficial insects and even to human health.”

Additional information


18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species - call for abstracts

05 July 2012

18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species - call for abstracts

The Invasive Species Centre is hosting the 18th International Conference on Aquatic Invasive Species that will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, April 21-25, 2013.

Visit the events page to find more information, including on how to submit an abstract.


New legislation in Scotland

02 July 2012

New legislation in Scotland

New legislation came into force this week to protect Scotland’s biodiversity from the serious threat of invasive non-native species.

The control of non-native species – such as Japanese Knotweed and Signal Crayfish - is estimated to cost Scotland £244 million per year. Scotland is the first country in the UK to protect native species in this way.

The new legislation makes it an offence to:

  • Release an animal, or allow it to escape, outwith its native range
  • Plant a plant in the wild outwith its native range
  • Intentionally or otherwise plant a plant in the wild or cause an animal to be outwith its native range

The changes in the law will not change everything to do with non-native species – pet owners can keep exotic pets responsibly and gardeners will still be able to plant species such as roses and sweet peas in their gardens.

Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said:

“We have taken an internationally agreed approach to non-native species – based on prevention of introduction as we can’t always predict which species will become a problem – and have become the first country in the UK to translate this into law.

“I am not suggesting that we should be eradicating all the non-native species in Scotland –what these changes will do is help us to stop any further unwanted introductions of invasive species to Scotland. The clear message is – if in doubt, don’t plant and don’t release.”

The Scottish Government has produced a Code of Practice on Non-Native Species to help people understand their responsibilities when dealing with non-native species and to understand which public body has responsibility for which habitats.

Ron Macdonald, SNH’s Head of Policy and Advice, said:

“Non-native species are one of the biggest threats to Scotland’s spectacular native wildlife as well as costing our agriculture, forestry and tourism industries millions each year. These new laws are an important step forward in improving Scotland’s biosecurity and safeguarding our economy and natural environment for future generations.”

SEPA’s Chief Executive, Professor James Curran, also welcomed the new legislation. He said:

“This new regime will help SEPA to deliver the healthier rivers and lochs we all want by allowing us to work more effectively with partners to tackle the real threat to Scotland’s water environment from invasive non-native species, such as North American signal crayfish and Australian swamp stonecrop.”

Find out more: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/Wildlife-Habitats/InvasiveSpecies


New invasive species display at Bristol Zoo

25 June 2012

New invasive species display at Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo unveiled their new invasive non-native species display today, which was opened by Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries.  The exhibit features both the Check, Clean, Dry and Be Plant Wise campaigns and was developed with support from Defra.

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Video-New-invasive-species-display-opened-Bristol/story-16446854-detail/story.html


Only two days left to apply for the Broads' Wetland Biosecurity Officer job

20 June 2012

Only two days left to apply for the Broads' Wetland Biosecurity Officer job

From the Broads authority:

Wetland Bio-Security Officer
Grade E (pending Job Evaluation)
Salary £20,198
Short Term Contract for 12 months

The Broads is an internationally important and protected wetland environment with status equivalent to a national park. The area is of special value for its wildlife and landscape beauty and for its important navigation interest.

Following the arrival of Dikerogammarus villosus – an invasive shrimp – in the Broads, the Authority is hosting a new partnership funded post to work with the users of the Broads to bring in robust bio-security measures to curtail the transfer of this and other unwanted invasive species. Working closely with boatyards, anglers and other water users you will firmly establish the ‘clean, check, dry’ procedures raising vital awareness of the need for everyone to act. The ideal candidate will have a clear understanding of the ecological background and implications, be able to communicate easily and effectively with a wide range of water users and businesses, show initiative and strong organisational skills to be able to quickly embed the necessary actions throughout the catchment.

The successful candidate will be based with the Broads Authority and work closely with partner organisations (Environment Agency, Natural England and Defra) and the Norfolk Non-Native Species Initiative.

The closing date for applications is 5pm, Friday 22 June 2012.

Interviews will be held on Monday 2 July 2012 in Norwich.

To apply online and for further details please visit our website www.broads-authority.gov.uk. If you want to know more about the post please speak to Simon Hooton on 01603 756025.

The Broads Authority encourages applications from all sections of the community.


New PlantTracker app to track problem plants

14 June 2012

New PlantTracker app to track problem plants

Environment Agency press release:

A new app to help combat the spread of three problem plants launches today.

Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Floating Pennywort are three particularly problematic Invasive, Non-Native Species (INNS) that are spreading quickly across the Midlands region. Using a smartphone app called PlantTracker we would like anyone who is out and about to record where these plants are so that we can more accurately assess the situation.

An INNS is any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. INNS pose threats to biodiversity, increase flood risk, and affect the state of our water environment. INNS cost the British economy a minimum of £1.7 billion per annum.

Japanese Knotweed can grow through asphalt, contributes to river bank erosion, increasing the risk of flooding and is very difficult to get rid of. Himalayan Balsam can grow to over 2 metres high, and also damages river banks. Floating Pennywort grows on water at a rate of up to 20cm per day, and can completely smother waterbodies.

The Environment Agency, the University of Bristol, and NERC Centre for Ecology &Hydrology (CEH) have teamed up to help combat the spread of these three INNS.

The PlantTracker app, available free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store by searching for planttracker (one word), or from the website http://planttracker.naturelocator.org/ shows how to identify each species and enables users to easily submit geo-located photos whenever they find one.

Claire Quigley from the Environment Agency said:

“Invasive non-native plant species are a threat to native wildlife in the Midlands. We’d love everyone to help us to track them down. We will be able to use the information to determine the extent of the problem, find out where the worst cases are and provide evidence for Local Action Groups to develop project funding bids to tackle INNS in their communities.”

The app has been developed as part of the NatureLocator project, led by the University of Bristol, to enable members of the public to take part in biological survey work via their mobile phones.

This is a pilot project and the app is being trialled in the Midlands region to begin with. However, it is hoped that in subsequent years the project will be expanded to cover the whole of the UK. Records can be submitted from outside the Midlands but they may not be analysed straight away.

You download the app and then follow the progress of the project and the reports that are coming in via a blog on the project website http://planttracker.naturelocator.org/, on twitter using #planttracker and @envagencymids, or at www.facebook.com/naturelocator

High quality photos of plants available on request or on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/environment-agency and look for ‘INNS Images’.


Proceedings of the GB Stakeholder Forum 2012

01 June 2012

Proceedings of the GB Stakeholder Forum 2012

This year The Stakeholder Forum was held at Conference Aston, Aston Business School, Birmingham. The event consisted of talks in the morning session and workshops followed by a short question and answer session in the afternoon.

Follow this link to find the proceedings and copies of presentations


Where are we with the Killer Shrimp?

30 May 2012

Where are we with the Killer Shrimp?

The D. villosus Task Group, which is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the response to this species, has produced a position statement summarising the rationale behind the response.  It is intended to help all stakeholders understand what we are collectively aiming to achieve and how things may change in the future.

Download the position statement or visit our Killer Shrimp pages.


Exotic beetle pest of trees found in Kent

29 March 2012

Exotic beetle pest of trees found in Kent

The Food and Environment Research Agency has issued the following press release:

"An outbreak of the Asian longhorn beetle (ALB), an exotic beetle pest which could have severe consequences for British trees, has been found in Kent the Food and Environment Research Agency confirmed today. This is the first time an outbreak of this pest has been found in the UK and it is being treated extremely seriously. Fera and the Forestry Commission are taking urgent steps to try to eradicate the outbreak before it has the chance to spread further afield.

Several larvae of the beetle have been found inside a poplar tree during a routine survey by the Forestry Commission at a site in the Paddock Wood area. Scientists from Forest Research had been monitoring an area around the site where an adult beetle had been found in 2009 and this is the first evidence of infestation. It is thought the beetles originated from wood packaging used to import stone from China at an adjacent industrial site.

The beetle is not native to the UK, and poses a serious threat to a very wide range of broadleaved trees and shrubs such as maple (including sycamore), elm, horse chestnut, willow, poplar, birch and some fruit trees.

Speaking about action to eradicate the outbreak Martin Ward, Head of Plant Health Policy at Fera said, “Our Plant Health Inspectors and the Forestry Commission are conducting a survey to determine the extent of this outbreak. They will be contacting all those within the survey area over the next few days and weeks with a view to inspecting all potential host trees for signs of the beetle. In the meantime we would urge members of the public, local businesses and landowners to be on the alert for the beetle and let us know if they find anything.

Adult beetles are large (around 20 - 40 mm long), shiny black with variable white markings. Their antennae are particularly distinctive being much longer than their bodies (up to twice the body length) and are black with white/light blue bands. The larvae of the beetle feed undetected on the inside of the plant and can kill it or leave it weakened and susceptible to further pest and disease damage.

The most obvious symptoms of ALB damage are the circular adult exit holes which are around 10 mm in diameter and are generally found in the main trunk and branches. The adult beetles usually emerge from these holes between May and October.

John Morgan, Head of Plant Health at the Forestry Commission, stated, “Until we have completed the initial survey work to determine the extent of the outbreak it’s difficult to say exactly what measures will need to be taken. However, we will need to remove any trees found to be infested and it is possible that we will need to remove potential host trees around the original site as a precautionary measure. Eradication measures to treat outbreaks in the US and Italy have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of mature trees.”

If anyone suspects they have seen an Asian longhorn beetle, or evidence of its presence please contact the Fera Plant Health Helpline 0844 2480071 or email planthealth.info@fera.gsi.gov.uk If possible, the beetle should be caught and placed in a secure container so that an Inspector can collect it. The beetles are not harmful to humans, though they should be handled with caution as they can nip the skin."

More information can be found on the Fera website


Identifying Invasive Freshwater Shrimps and Isopods

29 March 2012

Identifying Invasive Freshwater Shrimps and Isopods

The Killer Shrimp is just one of the non-native crustaceans that arrived in Great Britain after invading into Europe.  To help raise awareness of this and other species and support detection, Defra have funded the Freshwater Biological Association to produce an identification guide to existing and potential new invaders.

The booklet is free to download here: identifying invasive freshwater shrimps and isopods

Completed in March 2012, the booklet includes species that are already present in the UK, along with others that are invasive across mainland Europe and which may be recorded here in due course. It is designed to be printed as an A5-sized booklet.

This will be available in printed form in a few months' time, once feedback has been received and incorporated on any errors that need correcting. Therefore, if you do have any comments, please email these to the author: mdobson@fba.org,.uk.


RINSE - €2.5 million project to tackle alien invaders!

28 March 2012

RINSE - €2.5 million project to tackle alien invaders!

Norfolk County Council, Bournemouth University, CABI and other European partners have succesffully obtained the support of the European Union’s Interreg 4a Two Seas programme for their RINSE project (Reducing the Impact of Non-native Species in Europe).

They have released the following press statement:

"A new European project will bring tremendous gains to the region by helping to stem the rise of invasive plants and animals. The RINSE project (Reducing the Impact of Non-native Species in Europe), which has a total budget of over 2.5 million Euros, will look at ways of managing invasive non-native species (INS) across a large project area, spanning much of southern England, northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. RINSE has been supported by funding through the European Union’s Interreg Two Seas Programme, and has a total of nine partners, all with a keen interest and significant experience in the control and eradication of INS.

Invasive non-native species (often referred to as ‘aliens’) pose a tremendous threat to native biodiversity, causing ecological and economic damage. Globally they are thought to cost £1.4 trillion per year.

The project is being led by Norfolk County Council, (NCC) which already does much work locally in promoting the control of INS, playing host to the Norfolk Non-native Species Initiative (NNNSI).

Biodiversity and Countryside Manager at NCC, Heidi Thompson said: ”In Norfolk we have a heritage of active management of invasive species going back as far as the ambitious and successful project to eradicate coypu in the 1980s. We are delighted to be lead partner for the RINSE project, which will share techniques and experience across a network of partners in northern Europe, and bring some £200,000 worth of European money to the county.”

Amongst other activities, RINSE will audit the distribution of INS as well as making predictions about species that could become a threat in the future. It will also carry out field trials of new methods to control some of the most concerning INS found in the area.

The project will develop new methods to record INS, including an “App”, which will allow anyone with a Smartphone to record invasive species. Results from field trials will be made widely available to help with future control efforts.

NNNSI has delivered many control and eradication projects in the Norfolk, under the direction of Mike Sutton-Croft. A particularly important project is the ongoing removal of floating pennywort from the River Waveney, which is on track to achieve eradication within the next two years. Without the intervention of NNNSI this plant looked likely to have spread out of control, threatening biodiversity and recreational interests in the Broads (the plant can grow so thickly that boats are unable to push through).

Mike has worked closely with local communities to enable them to take direct steps to control invasive species on their doorstep, for example by running Himalayan balsam pulling events. NNNSI will also be at the forefront of efforts in Norfolk to tackle “killer shrimp” which has just been discovered Barton Broad.
Mike said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to share our expertise with colleagues across the south of England and further afield. The RINSE project is set to leave an impressive legacy through its programme of training, outreach and practical ‘on the ground’ removal work. With the recent arrival of killer shrimp in the Broads, the need to raise awareness of these species and how to prevent their spread is more important than ever. RINSE means that we should have the resources available to make this happen in Norfolk.”

http://www.rinse-europe.eu


Have you seen the Pet Pathway Toolkit?

23 March 2012

Have you seen the Pet Pathway Toolkit?

The Pet Pathway Toolkit: Tools and best practices to minimize the risk of introducing invasive species through the release or escape of pets

Download the Pet Pathway Toolkit or visit the Pet Pathway Toolkit Website

Purpose of the Toolkit
The Toolkit has been developed by the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council and the Global Invasive Species Programme to share best practices to minimize the risk of invasive alien species (animals, plants, pathogens, and parasites) being released or escaping into the natural environment through the pet/aquaria trade pathway.

It provides a ‘one-stop’ source of practical information and up-to-date guidance that users can adapt to their specific context and needs.

It is intended to be global in its application, but it recognizes that the scale of the pet trade market varies widely between different regions and countries. Its flexible design means that it can be easily expanded to incorporate new examples and experiences from around the world.

Who is the Toolkit for?
The Toolkit is primarily addressed to industry members and to public authorities because their decisions influence which species are used in the pet trade and how they are managed. More broadly, it provides opportunities to help stakeholders at all levels to address the risks associated with introducing alien species as pets, aquarium and terrarium species at each stage of the pet trade pathway.

Target audiences for the Toolkit may include:

  • Commercial trade: importers, wholesalers, transporters or retailers;
  • Producers: farms and ranches, nurseries, kennels, hobbyists, or pet breeders;
  • Owners: homeowners, public and private zoos, museums, aquariums, or research facilities;
  • Governments: national, state/provincial/tribal governments and agencies (regulatory and non-regulatory).
  • International trade organizations
  • Non-governmental organizations 

Broads water users urged to 'Check Clean Dry' following new finding of killer shrimp

14 March 2012

Broads water users urged to 'Check Clean Dry' following new finding of killer shrimp

Following dedicated monitoring a further population of the Killer Shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus) has been identified in Norfolk.  The Environment Agency has provided the following press release:

"All users of the Broads are being asked to ensure they follow ‘Check Clean Dry’ guidance when dealing with equipment which has been in contact with the water, after a few of the invasive non-native shrimp, Dikerogammarus villosus, were found in a small area of Barton Broad.

The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Broads Authority are currently working together to investigate the presence of the shrimp in the Broads, including its current population and spread.

Andrea Kelly Senior Ecologist for the Broads Authority said: ‘The shrimp were found through a dedicated monitoring programme. Fortunately we’ve only found the shrimp in a very localised area in the Broads so far. People checking, cleaning and drying their equipment after use is essential to help stop the spread of all non-native species and we would really appreciate their full cooperation in doing this.

‘We are working with our partners to investigate the shrimps’ current population and range in the Broads and to investigate and implement measures to limit its spread to and from other water courses. There is no risk to the public or their pets from it.’

Dikerogammarus villosus, commonly known as ‘killer shrimp’, is an invasive non-native species. If the shrimp became established and widespread, as other invasive species such as floating pennywort and Signal crayfish have, it could threaten populations of native species. Although the shrimp only grows to a maximum of 30mm (11/4 inches) it feeds on insect life including our native species such as damselfly nymphs, water boatmen and small fish.

The Check Clean Dry campaign asks all water users to take simple steps to help prevent the spread of non-native species between rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Clothing and equipment that has come in contact with the water should be checked for any living organisms and then thoroughly washed-down. Any organisms found should be returned to the water body they came from. Equipment and clothing should be dried as some species can survive for days in damp conditions."


Neobiota - first announcement and call for abstracts

20 February 2012

Neobiota - first announcement and call for abstracts

NEOBIOTA 2012 - Halting Biological Invasions in Europe: from Data to Decisions

7th European Conference on Biological Invasions,  Pontevedra (Spain), 12-14 September 2012

"We are looking forward to receiving contributions for talks and poster presentations. Participants planning to give a talk or poster presentation are asked to submit an English abstract no later than 31 May 2012 to the conference office, by e-mail to neobiota2012@gmail.com, as an attached Word document.

Please see the “Abstract contribution” section at the conference website.

Background information and a draft programme will be sent out shortly at the conference website http://eei2012-neobiota2012.blogspot.com

For questions you can contact the NEOBIOTA 2012 Conference Secretariat neobiota2012@gmail.com"


Buglife's UK Crayfish website

10 February 2012

Buglife's UK Crayfish website

New website available from Buglife, funded by the Environment Agency:

"The UK Crayfish website www.crayfish.org.uk, brings together up to date information about the UK’s only native crayfish, the White-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobuis pallipes) and its conservation. Also provided is a range of information about non-native crayfish species, their impacts and control. The website contains both professional and public channels to ensure that a wide variety of information is available on all aspects and issues relating to crayfish, regardless of what you know or what you want to know about crayfish, there will be something to interest you.

The professional channel contains a White-clawed crayfish conservation toolkit, it provides information on crayfish projects including ark sites and summarises crayfish research. The public channel provides an introduction to the different types of crayfish that occur in the UK, what to do if you find a crayfish and how you can help conserve our endangered White-clawed crayfish.

The website has been funded by the Environment Agency, with information compiled by Buglife, Stephanie Peay and the Environment Agency. For information regarding the website or if you would like to add a project or other information to the website, please contact Buglife on info@buglife.org.uk"


European Commision consultation on a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species

30 January 2012

European Commision consultation on a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species

Target groups: All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from stakeholder organisations and Member States.

Period of consultation: From 27.01.2012  to 12.04.2012

Description: Invasive alien species (IAS) are species whose introduction and/or spread, outside their natural past or present distribution, threatens biological diversity. They may cause serious damage not only to ecosystems but also to crops and livestock, disrupting the local ecology, impacting on human health and producing serious economic effects.

While some EU instruments are dealing with the other major causes of biodiversity loss - namely habitat change, climate change, overexploitation and pollution – there is currently no comprehensive instrument at EU level to tackle invasive alien species. Responding to this gap, the Commission adopted a Communication by the Commission: "Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species (2008)".

In 2011, the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 was launched, including the target: "by 2020, Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and their pathways are identified and prioritised, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and pathways are managed to prevent the introduction and establishment of new IAS" and an action aiming at filling policy gaps in combating IAS by developing a dedicated legislative instrument by 2012: COM(2011) 244

The Commission is preparing a dedicated legislative instrument on Invasive Alien Species. In preparation of this instrument the Commission is now seeking views on the more specific choices to be made when establishing this instrument.

Link: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/invasive_aliens.htm


Call for Local Action Groups - Defra is inviting bids to help tackle aquatic invasives

11 January 2012

Call for Local Action Groups - Defra is inviting bids to help tackle aquatic invasives

Defra is inviting bids for funding from local action groups to support work on tackling aquatic invasive non-native species.

The Environment Agency has secured four years of funding from Defra to deliver Water Framework Directive outcomes. Some of this funding will be available to Local Action Groups to deliver improved ecological quality. Over £250,000 was allocated in the financial year 2011/2012.

Because the funding has been provided by Defra, only LAGs within England are eligible.

To apply visit our Local Action Group WFD fund application pages.

Bids must be sent to Defra by: Friday 17th March, 2012


Updated Japanese Knotweed guidance to developers

11 January 2012

Updated Japanese Knotweed guidance to developers

The Welsh Government have recently updated their guidance to developers regarding the control of Japanese knotweed in construction and landscape contracts, to reflect changes in legislation and eradication guidance and in order to provide more in depth information on methods of control, management and eradication.


Overseas territories identification service

03 January 2012

Overseas territories identification service

Improving bio-security in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories: identification service for invasive invertebrate plant pests

Fera have been offering an identification service to all UK Overseas Territories. This is a Defra funded service provided by entomologists at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) in the United Kingdom. The second phase of the project is now in progress extending the scope to all UK Overseas Territories.

Some of the successes:

Thus far the project has generated many valuable contributions to our knowledge of the invertebrate fauna of four of the UK Overseas Territories. It has highlighted a large number of previously unreported non-native species introductions, and perhaps more surprising, approximately eight species apparently new to science have been discovered. New pests of pine in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The destructive pine tortoise scale, Toumeyella parvicornis was until very recently the only insect pest known to be causing losses to the Caicos pine, Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Samples submitted through this project have identified three other scale insect species on this host, and at least two are non-native and are likely to be contributing to the serious and rapid decline of the pine forests.

Submitting samples:

Overseas Territories can receive support in the diagnosis of plant pest invertebrates by contacting Fera by email at ukot@fera.gsi.gov.uk and they will provide details of how to prepare samples and where to send them.

Follow this link to download a report on the work so far:

Improving bio-security in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories: identification service for invasive invertebrate plant pests 

Photograph: An undescribed species of Eurypepla, a tortoise beetle, from the Cayman Islands
© Fera


Council of Europe adopts a Code of Practice on pets and invasive alien species

29 December 2011

New conference proceedings - Island Invasives: Eradication and Management

29 December 2011

New conference proceedings - Island Invasives: Eradication and Management

IUCN Publications

The papers and abstracts published in this book are the outcome of the conference on Island Invasives: Eradication and Management held at Tamaki Campus, University of Auckland, New Zealand, from 8 to 12 February 2010, hosted by the Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity (University of Auckland and Landcare Research), in collaboration with the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group.

Veitch, C. R.; Clout, M. N. and Towns, D. R. (eds.) 2011. Island Invasives: Eradication and Management. Proceedings of the International Conference on Island Invasives. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN and Auckland, New Zealand: CBB. xii + 542pp.

http://www.issg.org/publications.htm#iucn_publications


One of the world’s most important atolls cleared of rats

29 December 2011

One of the world’s most important atolls cleared of rats

Visit this link to read more:

One of the world’s most important atolls cleared of rats

[photo credit: Richard Cuthbert]


December NNSS Newsletter now available

29 December 2011

Killer Shrimp – additional interim advice for outboard engines

02 December 2011

Killer Shrimp – additional interim advice for outboard engines

Recent findings have indicated that Killer Shrimp may work their way into the crevices and other parts of outboard engines. A wide range of stakeholders, including Grafham Water Sailing Club, Environment Agency, Anglian Water, the Green Blue, Royal Yachting Association, Natural England and others, have worked in partnership to produce interim guidance for boat owners to reduce this risk. We encourage all stakeholders to help by following and promoting this advice.

Download the interim guidance here

Work is ongoing to assess further biosecurity measures and additional guidance may follow. 


New biosecurity facility at Grafham Water Sailing Club

09 November 2011

New biosecurity facility at Grafham Water Sailing Club

It has been just over a year since the Killer Shrimp was discovered first at Grafham Water in Cambridgeshire and then in Cardiff Bay and Eglwys Nunydd in Wales. To date there are still only the three known populations. This is very encouraging and suggests that the superb joint effort of everyone involved to raise awareness, contain these populations and implement biosecurity practices is helping to protect our waterways from significant harm. However, there is absolutely no room for complacency as preventing its spread remains a serious challenge.

In September, Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and the Grafham Water Sailing Club held a ‘one year on event’ to say thank you for the efforts everyone has made so far and to encourage them to keep up the good work. They used the opportunity to formally open their latest biosecurity improvement – ‘shrimp alley’. This is a bespoke biosecurity facility, equipped with six high pressure jet washers, designed to make it easier and faster to check, clean and dry the large numbers of boats that visit during big events. It highlights the level of commitment and considerable efforts being made by all stakeholders to help prevent the spread of this highly invasive species.

For more information visit our Killer Shrimp alert page.

Photo courtesty of Anglian Water


Asian Hornet Identification Sheet now available

18 October 2011

Asian Hornet Identification Sheet now available

Vespa velutina, sometimes known as the 'Asian Hornet’ is an invasive non-native species from Asia. It has recently arrived in France where it is spreading rapidly. As a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species, it can cause significant losses to bee colonies, other native species and potentially ecosystems.

Download the Asian Hornet identification sheet

Or visit the Asian Hornet alert pages


Killer Shrimp, research report into biosecurity treatments

23 September 2011

Killer Shrimp, research report into biosecurity treatments

A report funded by Defra and produced by Cefas is now available entitled:

"Evaluation of a number of treatments to be used as biosecurity measures in controlling the spread of the invasive killer shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus)"

For other information and resources visit our Killer Shrimp alert page


Killer Shrimp - Briefing Note 4 and new Environment Agency Factsheet available

16 September 2011

Killer Shrimp - Briefing Note 4 and new Environment Agency Factsheet available

Briefing notes are used to help keep stakeholders informed of developments relating to the Killer Shrimp (Dikerogammarus villosus).  In addition, the Environment Agency has compiled a factsheet summarising the most relevant facts about this species.


Download both documents using the links below:

Find out more about Killer Shrimp through our alert page.


Open minded and open access: NeoBiota, a new publishing platform for invasion biologists

06 September 2011

Open minded and open access: NeoBiota, a new publishing platform for invasion biologists

Press release from Neobiota:

Plants helping human parasites, roads as weed highways, and chemical warfare between alien and native plants – these are only some of the topics covered in NeoBiota – a new open-access, peer-reviewed, rapid online journal in invasion biology. NeoBiota was launched by Pensoft Publishers continuing the former NeoBiota Proceedings series. The Editor-in-Chief of the new journal is Dr Ingolf Kühn from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ, Halle, Germany, assisted by an authoritative Editorial Team.

The vision of the Editorial Board on the priority issues and future development of invasion biology is presented in an Editorial co-authored by many leading specialists in biological invasions and published in NeoBiota's inaugural issue.

"There are at least three main reasons for launching a new journal on biological invasions. First, there is a need for a publication which considers introduced species irrespective of their impact, negative or positive (e.g., planned introductions of economically important species); second, a journal is required that publishes the results of close interdisciplinary research; and third, provides the first solely open access publication dealing specifically with biological invasions." said Dr Kühn.

NeoBiota will pay special attention to increasing public awareness of the challenges posed by biological invasions through an established system of press releases targeted at other publishers, mass media, science and general blogs and social networks amongst others.

"The rate and scale with which biological invasions happen nowadays are unprecedented. It is truly exciting to have a journal that will address these challenges through rapid online open-access using the innovative publishing and dissemination methods already in place in other Pensoft's journals." commented Dr Tom Stohlgren from the US Geologial Survey, Fort Collins. "The 'journals of the future' should be types of social networks, serving the interested community and reaching out to a wider audience, providing barrier-free, rapid and concise information, as well as access to underlying data. Surely, a crucial set of features for studying and managing biological invasions!" added Dr Stohlgren.

The journal provides automated cross-linking through the innovative Pensoft Taxon Profile tool revealing all taxa published. This includes the world's leading indexing and aggregation biodiversity platforms, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), the International Plant Name Index (IPNI), MycoBank, Index Fungorum, ZooBank, the National Center for Biodiversity Information (NCBI), the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), the bibliographic archives PubMed, PubMedCentral, and many others. NeoBiota will provide also a strong support and cutting-edge infrastructure for open data publishing through internationally recognized data repositories, such as GBIF, Genbank, Barcode of Life, Dryad, Pangaea and others.

Click here for more information


Himalayan weed threatens plants on the Norfolk Broads

26 August 2011

Himalayan weed threatens plants on the Norfolk Broads

Matthew Wilkonson (RSPB) and Mike Sutton-Croft (NNNSI) discuss the problems of Himalayan Balsam on the Norfolk Broads with BBC News Norfolk.


What the video here.


New! - NNSS Newsletter

16 August 2011

New! - NNSS Newsletter

The Non-native Species Secretariat Newsletter provides a summary of some of the most significant developments over the past few months.  It's aimed at a broad audience and designed to promote better sharing of information, greater awareness and encourage partnership working.  We hope that it will also provide an opportunity for local groups to share experiences of tackling the INNS problems in their area.


The invaders that are costing us billions - Environment Agency's top 10 invasive species

08 August 2011

The invaders that are costing us billions - Environment Agency's top 10 invasive species

The Environment Agency has released its 10 most wanted list of alien invaders – the plants and animals that are threatening to take over Britain’s waterways. 

Invasive species now cost the UK economy an estimated £1.7billion every year. They cause damage to riverbanks and buildings, increase flood risk, crowd out and kill off native wildlife and become so prolific on waterways that fishermen, boaters and anglers are unable to use them.

The cost of clearing land, such as construction sites, of invasive plants can run into the millions. The rise of invasive species is also a major challenge in meeting tough new EU targets on the ecology of rivers and lakes.

The Environment Agency currently spends over £2million a year controlling invasive species, and is this year increasing its efforts with partners such as Natural England by targeting some of the £18m funding provided by Defra to help more English rivers meet the new EU targets.

While Britain’s rivers are the healthiest for over 20 years and otters, salmon and other wildlife are returning for the first time since the industrial revolution, rivers that harbour non-native species could fall short of these tough new standards.

Trevor Renals, invasive species expert at the Environment Agency said:

 “River water quality is the best its been since before the industrial revolution. But if we don’t control invasive species, we risk losing some of our precious native species and incurring even more clean up costs. We could also fall short of the strict EU targets for our rivers and lakes. 

“The Environment Agency will be working with other environment bodies as well as community and volunteer groups to manage the spread of these damaging plants and animals. We would urge everyone to help stop the spread of these species by making sure that garden and pond plants don’t end up near rivers and parkland and thoroughly cleaning any fishing, boating and canoeing equipment when moving between waterways.”

The Environment Agency has the following 10 species on its hitlist:

  1. Killer Shrimp, Dikerogammerus Villosus
  2. Water Primrose, Ludwigia grandiflora
  3. Floating Pennywort, Hydrocotyle ranunculoides
  4. American Signal Crayfish, Pacifastacus leniusculus
  5. Topmouth Gudgeon, Pseudorasbora parva
  6. Giant Hogweed, Heracleum mantegazzianum
  7. Japanese Knotweed, Fallopia japonica
  8. Himalayan Balsam, Impatiens glandulifera
  9. Mink, Mustela vison
  10. Parrot’s Feather, Myriophyllum aquaticum

The Environment Agency advises anyone who finds these plants in their garden or pond to visit the ‘be plant wise’ website for advice on how to remove and dispose of them. The agency also urged river users to contact them immediately on 03708 506 506 if they suspect that they have seen killer shrimp in their local waterway.


Struggle against invasive species remains important goal for global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity: CBD Secretariat supports recent statement

03 August 2011

Struggle against invasive species remains important goal for global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity: CBD Secretariat supports recent statement

Struggle against invasive species remains important goal for global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity: Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity supports recent statement by conservation organizations

Download the full communique

Montreal, 1 August 2011 – The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity has expressed support for a recent call from conservation organizations for continued action against invasive species.  On 22 July, the magazine Science published a letter from senior leaders of the world most authoritative conservation organizations entitled “Invasives: A Major Conservation Threat”. The purpose of the letter was to respond to recent positions that have argued against the struggle against invasive species. In the letter, the leaders of IUCN, Birdlife, WWF, Conservation International, Wildlife Conservation Society, Fauna and Flora International, and Island Conservation indicated that recent discussions on alternative strategies to the management of invasive species should not undermine ongoing efforts to prevent and mitigate the impacts of invasive species.

The authors of the letter stress that as invasive species are indeed a major cause of biodiversity loss continued aggressive intervention is needed to capitalize on recent successes. Therefore, conservation leaders call the global community to work together to control the most harmful invasive species, and to meet target 9 of Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, which calls for action to control invasives.

“Invasive species are a subtle threat to the natural balance of species and ecosystems, but can suddenly occur in explosive outbreaks. For this reason, the global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 includes a specific target on this issue” said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity. He added that: “We warmly welcome the letter published in Science – signed by an impressive list of leaders of conservation organizations – because it confirms the commitment of the conservation community to address this threat. Preventing and mitigating the negative effects of invasions is indeed a huge challenge, and the cooperation of the NGOs is of crucial importance.”

For additional information, please contact: David Ainsworth on +1 514 287 7025 or at
david.ainsworth@cbd.int; or Johan Hedlund on +1 514 287 6670 or at johan.hedlund@cbd.int.


Killer Shrimp - be on the lookout!

22 July 2011

Killer Shrimp - be on the lookout!
Ecologists monitoring Killer Shrimp at Grafham Water have reported a sudden population 'bloom' over recent weeks.  It is now more important than ever to be alert for this species and report any suspicious sighting.

Download the Killer Shrimp identification sheet.

Report a sighting:

[Image courtesy of Michal Grabowski]

New initiative begins to remove mink in north Scotland

08 July 2011

New initiative begins to remove mink in north Scotland

The largest ever initiative to remove breeding American mink from north Scotland was announced on 12 May 2011. 

Covering 20,000 km², from rural Tayside across Aberdeenshire, Moray, the Cairngorms and the Highlands, the Scottish Mink Initiative is a new partnership between Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS), Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the University of Aberdeen, and 16 other organisations. 

Aiming to protect native wildlife, such as water voles, ground nesting birds and economically important populations of salmon and game birds, to help protect local economic stability for the benefit of local communities, the initiative signals a £920,000 investment in native wildlife conservation, thanks to support from Cairngorms National Park Authority, Highland, Moray, Rural Aberdeenshire and Rural Tayside LEADER 2003 - 2007 Programmes and SNH through the Species Action Framework. 

Hollie Walker, the Scottish Mink Initiative Coordinator, said: “This initiative is as much about ensuring economic security for local communities as it is about protecting Scotland’s wildlife. By taking action now to prevent mink from continuing to impact negatively on our native wildlife, we are also safeguarding local economies and livelihood’s which depend on angling, shooting, or wildlife tourism. 

“The success of this initiative relies on community support and involvement, and we hope that by working with homeowners, landowners, river trusts and boards, and local interest groups, we can deliver real, tangible results to benefit local communities now and in the future. 

“We have now appointed four mink control officers and we will be strategically working at a local level to monitor mink movements using mink rafts and establish an alert system, made up of local land owners, fishery trusts, volunteers, and interested others, to prevent further spread of the species. While animal control will be necessary, animal welfare considerations will be paramount to our operations.” 

With its aim to create a 20,000 km² safe haven free from breeding mink, the Scottish Mink Initiative significantly builds on the success of previous mink control projects in the Cairngorms National Park, Highlands and north east Scotland.

The initiative will establish a strategic monitoring and control zone across the north, extending from the mid-Tay to the South Esk, around the east coast to the River Nairn, and across from Dornoch and Cromarty on the east to Ullapool on the west.


Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Alien Species

21 June 2011

BIOLIEF 2011 - Call for papers

20 June 2011

BIOLIEF 2011 - Call for papers

"Ecosystem Impacts of Biological Invasions", a Special Issue in Acta Oecologica

Manuscripts from BIOLIEF 2011 participants related to the “Ecosystem Impacts of Biological Invasions” will be considered for publication in a Special Issue of Acta Oecologica (www.elsevier.com/locate/actoec).
Submissions will be received from August 1st 2011 to February 29th 2012 and guidelines for authors will soon be published.

For further information visit:
<a href="http://www.grieta.org.ar/biolief/specialissue.htm" target="_blank">www.grieta.org.ar/biolief/specialissue.htm
www.grieta.org.ar/biolief
www.facebook.com/biolief


Invasive Species Compendium is now available

15 June 2011

Invasive Species Compendium is now available

The Invasive Species Compendium is an online, open access reference work covering recognition, biology, distribution, impact and management of the world's invasive plants and animals.

The Invasive Species Compendium currently covers over 1,500 species with over 7,000 basic summary datasheets and 1,500 detailed datasheets. You can also access over 800 full text articles (in pdf format) and 65,000 abstract summaries, with plans to add 10,000 more by the end of 2011. This new resource has been built upon a brand new technical platform which enables our experts to update the datasheets and bibliographical data on a weekly basis.


Big birds lose out in a crowded world - News release from BirdLife International

08 June 2011

Big birds lose out in a crowded world - News release from BirdLife International

Over the last 500 years, invasive alien species have been partly or wholly responsible for the extinction of at least 65 bird species, according to BirdLife International.

-------------------------------------

Big birds lose out in a crowded world
07 June 2011 | International news release

One of the world’s largest species of bird is on the brink of extinction according to the 2011 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ for birds, just released by BirdLife International, an IUCN Red List partner.

The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) has been uplisted to Critically Endangered, the highest level of threat. Hunting, disturbance, habitat loss and fragmentation have all conspired to reduce this magnificent species to perhaps as few as 250 individuals.

Standing a metre in height and weighing in at nearly 15 kg, the Great Indian Bustard was once widespread across the grasslands of India and Pakistan but is now restricted to small and isolated fragments of remaining habitat.

“In an ever more crowded world, species that need lots of space, such as the Great Indian Bustard, are losing out. However, we are the ones who lose in the long run, as the services that nature provides us start to disappear,” said Dr Leon Bennun, BirdLife’s Director of Science and Policy.

This year’s update brings the total number of threatened bird species to 1,253, an alarming 13% of the world total.

“In the space of a year another 13 bird species have moved into the threatened categories”, said Jean-Christophe Vié, Deputy Director, IUCN Global Species Programme. “This is a disturbing trend; however the figure would be much worse if conservation initiatives were not in place. The information collected by the BirdLife partnership is crucial in helping us to continue improving conservation efforts. This is now more important than ever as the biodiversity crisis is already affecting our wellbeing and will continue to do so unless we do more to stop it.”

“Birds provide a window on the rest of nature. They are very useful indicators of ecosystem health: if they are faring badly, then so is wildlife more generally,” said Dr Stuart Butchart, BirdLife’s Global Research and Indicators Coordinator. “The changes we have documented in this year’s update will feed into the Red List Index for birds, a measure of trends in the state of the planet used by the world governments, global businesses and the United Nations, among others”.

Another species on the edge is the Bahama Oriole (Icterus northropi) also newly listed as Critically Endangered. Recent survey work suggests the population of this beautiful black and yellow Caribbean bird could be as low as 180 individuals. The orioles live in mature woodland, and nest in coconut palms. Lethal yellowing disease of these palms has wiped out nesting trees in areas where the oriole was previously common but is now absent. However, apart from losing nesting habitat, the oriole is also threatened by the recent arrival of the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis) a brood parasite that lays its eggs in other species’ nests.

“Although the situation appears bleak for many species, this year’s update does highlight several species where targeted conservation work has turned around their fortunes,” said Andy Symes, BirdLife’s Global Species Programme Officer.

The Campbell Island Teal, Anas nesiotis, has benefitted from a massive programme to eradicate rats, plus captive-breeding of remaining individuals. The species has now returned to New Zealand’s Campbell Island and the majority of birds are now thriving, resulting in a reclassification of the threat status to Endangered.

Three species of Atlantic island pigeon are also benefitting from conservation. The Madeira, White-tailed and Dark-tailed Laurel Pigeon (Columba trocaz of Madeira and C. junoniae and C. bollii of the Canary Islands) have all been classified at lower threat levels after threats such as habitat loss and hunting were addressed, coupled with an increased protection of suitable habitat.

“Birds are so intertwined with human culture all around the world that they present a very visible picture of the state of nature. Good examples abound of how we can save threatened birds. We need to redouble our efforts to do so, otherwise we risk not just losing magnificent creatures like the Great Indian Bustard, but unravelling the whole fabric of our life-support systems”, said Dr Bennun....

More

http://www.iucn.org/?7594/Big-birds-lose-out-in-a-crowded-world


Update on Ruddy Duck progress

26 April 2011

Update on Ruddy Duck progress
Download the most recent Ruddy Duck Bulletin

The UK Ruddy Duck population is now thought to have fallen to fewer than 100 birds, from an estimated 4,400 in September 2005.

The eradication programme co-funded by EU LIFE-Nature and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) ended on 31 March 2011. However, it is now clear that full eradication is feasible and Defra has agreed to fund additional work in 2011/12 which should result in further falls in the population.

The other key countries in Europe (France, the Netherlands and Belgium) recognise that eradication is feasible and it has been agreed at the Standing Committee of the Bern Convention that Ruddy Ducks should be eradicated across Europe by 2015.

Only one Ruddy Duck was recorded in Spain in 2010. This bird was eventually culled in February 2011.

Horticultural Code of Practice updated in England and Wales

08 April 2011

Launch of Check, Clean, Dry biosecurity campaign

28 March 2011

Launch of Check, Clean, Dry biosecurity campaign
With the risk of spreading highly invasive non-native species such as Killer Shrimp and Water Primrose the need for improved biosecurity is clear. 

To help, Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government are working with representatives of relevant landowners, water user groups and conservation organisations to launch a campaign to raise awareness of the problems caused by aquatic invasive species in our waters and encourage a simple 'check, clean, dry' approach to biosecurity.

The campaign calls on water users to help stop the spread of these species by following some simple bio-security practices:

Check
  • Check your equipment and clothing for live organisms - particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect
Clean
  • Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly.
  • If you do come across any organisms, leave them at the water body where you found them.
Dry
  • Dry all equipment and clothing – some species can live for many days in moist conditions.
  • Make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.
View the Non-native Species Secretariat pages supporting this campaign.

Draft Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Northern Ireland

28 March 2011

Draft Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Northern Ireland
The Department of Environment Northern Ireland is seeking views on a draft Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Northern Ireland.   The vision for the Strategy is that it will establish a coordinated policy and management framework that minimises the risk of invasive alien species to the economy, environment and society. The Strategy is structured into components which reflect the main challenges for Northern Ireland and are in line with the guiding principles set out by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Invasive Species Programme.   Increasing awareness and understanding of the risks and the issues involved in tackling invasive alien species is a central overarching issue.  

The consultation period closes on 30 September 2011.  

A letter to consultees, the consultation document and the consultation response form can be accessed using the below links.

Details on how to submit responses are outlined in the covering letter and the consultation document:


Public Consultation on the Code of Practice on Non-native and Invasive Non-native Species (Scotland)

21 March 2011

Public Consultation on the Code of Practice on Non-native and Invasive Non-native Species (Scotland)

The Scottish Government has published a consultation on the Code of Practice on Non-Native and Invasive Non-Native Species.

This Code provides practical guidance in respect of the release, keeping, sale and notification offences contained in the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Bill.  It also contains information on species control agreements and species control orders, and sets out a framework of responsibilities agreed by the key government agencies dealing with invasive non-native species. 

We are inviting responses to this consultation paper by 9 June 2011.


New European pages launched - Non-native species in Europe

08 March 2011

New European pages launched - Non-native species in Europe
The Europe pages of the NNSS website have been launched.

We welcome suggestions for additional content  - please contact us.

The 2011 LIFE+ Call for Proposals

07 March 2011

The 2011 LIFE+ Call for Proposals
Call for Proposals
The fifth LIFE+ call for proposals was published on 26 February 2011, with up to €267 million available for co-financing of projects under three headings:
  • Nature and biodiversity
  • Environment policy and governance
  • Information and communication
Project proposals should be sent to the relevant national authority no later than 18 July, 2011. National authorities will then send them to the European Commission by 9 September, 2011.

For more information on the call, click here.

Information Sessions for Potential Applicants

To coincide with this call, the European Commission is organising Information Sessions in each Member State, to inform potential applicants about the LIFE+ Programme and the requirements for submitting a proposal.

For more information, click here.

Local Action Group Workshop 2011

15 February 2011

Local Action Group Workshop 2011
Summary of the second Local Action Group Workshop, Jan 2011 - find out more about the workshop and about resources for Local Action Groups.

New vacanies: Mink Control Officers and Project Coordinator

20 January 2011

New vacanies: Mink Control Officers and Project Coordinator
Strategic Mink Control in Northern Scotland, Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland

Positions:

The Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) on behalf of the project partnership of RAFTS, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Wildlife Trust and University of Aberdeen are seeking applicants for the following positions:

a) Mink Control Project Coordinator
b) Four Mink Control Officers

These are new 29 month fixed term positions.

The project is funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, Tubney Charitable Trust, Cairngorms National Park and the Scottish Government and the European Community Cairngorms, Highland, Moray, Rural Aberdeenshire and Rural Tayside Local Action Groups LEADER 2007-2013 Programme.

Download the information leaflet.

New position based in Fiji advertised by BirdLife

12 January 2011

New position based in Fiji advertised by BirdLife

New position based in Fiji advertised by BirdLife to manage a 4-year project entitled Local Livelihoods - Combating Invasive Alien Species in the Pacific for the benefit of biodiversity and people.

Closing date: 31st January 2011


New report into the economic cost of non-native species published today

15 December 2010

New report into the economic cost of non-native species published today
Access the full report and a document outlining the headline figures from our reports page.


The financial cost of invasive non-native species on the British economy has been unveiled in a new report.

The report, entitled 'The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species to the British Economy', suggests that invasive species cost £1.7 billion every year.

The research was carried out by international scientific organisation CABI for the Scottish Government, Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government and it breaks down the effect on each country as follows:

•    £1.3 billion per annum to the English economy,
•    £245 million to the Scottish economy
•    £125 million to the Welsh economy.

It indicates that the economic cost of INNS can be wide ranging and can result in the loss of crops, ecosystems and livelihoods.  The cost to the agriculture and horticulture sector alone is estimated to be £1 billion across Britain.

The effect of the extent of the invasion on control costs was investigated in five case studies (Asian long-horned beetle, carpet sea squirt, water primrose, grey squirrel and coypu).  In all examples, early action provided a significant economic benefit compared to the cost of management if the species were to become more widely established.

For example, with water primrose, a group of South American aquatic weeds which grow rapidly and can block waterways it is estimated that the current timely eradication will cost £73 thousand which is significantly less than the estimated £242 million that it would cost if the plant was to become widely established as it has on the continent in countries like France and Belgium.

Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Government Minister for Environment said:

“We all know about the serious threat to our native wildlife from invasive non-native species, and this report confirms the huge cost to businesses and individuals in Great Britain every year.”

“A better understanding of the negative impacts of invasive non-native species can help us raise awareness to help prevent introductions in the first place and to better respond to problems.  

“This report highlights that once established, invasive non-native plants and animals can have a serious impact and that early intervention not only has a beneficial effect on the environment but also on our finances.”

Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment, Defra, said:

“Invasive non-native species have a significant impact on the British economy and damage our own wildlife. The costs of controlling these species will rise unless society takes steps to prevent them taking hold and spreading.

“It becomes increasingly difficult and costly to control invasive non-native species as they become more established. Taking early action may seem expensive, but this report shows that it is the most effective approach, saving money in the long run and helping our native wildlife to thrive.”

Jane Davidson, Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Welsh Assembly Government said:

"We in the Welsh Assembly Government are committed to protecting and enhancing our biodiversity and to understanding its relationship with, and impact on, our economy. We have been particularly concerned about the impact of non native species on our environment and on businesses in Wales.

"This report will help us to prioritise and target where actions can have the most impact, and will assist us in prioritising our resources for action in the future."

European report available: 'Assessment to support continued development of the EU Strategy to combat invasive alien species'

01 December 2010

European report available: 'Assessment to support continued development of the EU Strategy to combat invasive alien species'
Download a full version of the report here or find it on our report pages.

This study, prepared by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, analyses the policy baseline, and outlines priorities and components for an EU IAS Strategy. It includes a preliminary and indicative estimate of the level of costs associated with the proposed measures.

New Be Plant Wise video - Floating Pennywort on the River Tame

21 October 2010

New Be Plant Wise video - Floating Pennywort on the River Tame
Pond plants, such as Floating Pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranuncuolides) can spread extremely quickly dominating water courses.

In this video, produced as part of the Be Plant Wise campaign, Dave Ottewell and Alice Chapman of the Environment Agency and Bill Lawrenson of Canoe England discuss the invasion of this plant on the River Tame at Tamworth.

To view, follow this link: video of Floating Pennywort on the River Tame

RSPB new footage of Pacific Rat killing and eating a petrel chick on Henderson Island

20 October 2010

RSPB new footage of Pacific Rat killing and eating a petrel chick on Henderson Island
The RSPB has obtained never-before-seen footage of an introduced Pacific rat killing and eating a petrel chick on Henderson Island (Pitcairn, South Pacific).

It can be viewed here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/video/2010/oct/18/rspb-rats-henderson-island.

River South Esk Catchment Partnership - Angus. Invasive Non Native Weeds Eradication Project

12 October 2010

River South Esk Catchment Partnership - Angus. Invasive Non Native Weeds Eradication Project
The River South Esk catchment in Angus is a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for Atlantic salmon and freshwater pearl mussels and Montrose Basin, the large enclosed estuary of the River South Esk is a Ramsar site, Special Protection Area, Site of Special Scientific Interest and Local Nature Reserve.  The catchment supports a wide range of economic activity in industries such as farming, forestry, fisheries, tourism and recreation.                          

The River South Esk Catchment Partnership are implementing their first large scale project in 2010, an Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) eradication project.  The INNS project will bring benefits to the local community within a short timescale with a reduction in the health and safety risk of giant hogweed. Undertaking the project will ensure that the length of South Esk catchment will experience improved access and amenity of the river and its tributaries.  A raised awareness of non-native invasive species will help to limit their spread and enhance biodiversity and the removal of invasive non-native species will contribute towards achieving favourable conservation status of the River South Esk SAC. A river watch scheme will also be developed by the partnership allowing the public to report invasive weeds, fresh water pearl mussel poaching, species sightings and many other topics.

The Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust one of the stakeholders on the partnership steering group have on behalf of the Partnership been awarded £20,000 by the Angus Environment Trust (landfill tax funding) allowing the proposed first phase of implementation to proceed.  The success of this application ensures that match funding previously awarded by Angus Council, Esk Rivers & Fisheries Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Cairngorms National Park Authority, and Rural Tayside LEADER is now available, ensuring a further one year delivery of the objectives of the River South Esk Catchment Management Plan.

If you would like to find out more about the River South Esk and the Catchment Partnership visit http://www.angusahead.com/southesk or email the project coordinator Kelly Ann Dempsey at dempseyk@angus.gov.uk for further information.

Killer Shrimp Alert!

24 September 2010

Killer Shrimp Alert!

Dikerogammarus villosus, sometimes known as the 'killer shrimp', is an invasive non-native species that has spread from the Ponto-Caspian Region of Eastern Europe.  As a voracious predator it kills a range of native species, including young fish, and can significantly alter ecosystems.

This species was found at Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire on 3rd September 2010, the first recorded outbreak in Great Britain.  Anglian Water and Environment Agency scientists are monitoring lakes and streams nearby to assess whether it has spread to other sites.

Any further sightings should be reported, along with a photograph and details of where you saw it, to: alert_nonnative@ceh.ac.uk

Identification:

  • Dikerogammarus villosus is 30mm long, much larger than our native freshwater shrimp.
  • Often has striped or spotted markings.
  • Mandibles are relatively large.
  • Behaviour is particularly vicious and destructive.

Further information:

News coverage:


Impact of Non-native Species - British Ornolthologist's Union Conference Proceedings

09 September 2010

Impact of Non-native Species - British Ornolthologist's Union Conference Proceedings
Details of all recent BOU conference proceedings whether online or offline publications can be found at this site: www.bouproc.net

New project launched in Dumfries and Galloway to tackle invasive species

19 August 2010

New project launched in Dumfries and Galloway to tackle invasive species
Find out more: project website
Download: leaflet

A new project to deal with invasive non-native species (INNS) in Dumfries and Galloway was launched Wednesday 11 August.

The INNS partnership project will deliver a control programme on the Nith and Annan catchments by providing practical support, information, guidance and education on why and how to control INNS, to land managers and the general public. A number of INNS are being tackled, which include Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam, giant hogweed, American mink and signal crayfish. The project will also provide a point of contact to ensure sightings can be reported centrally.

The project is part of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency's (SEPA) Dumfries and Galloway Catchment Management Initiative, and managed by a steering group, bringing together key local organisations to help tackle the problem.

Practical INNS control will be undertaken by two project officers working for the Annan and Nith District Salmon Fishery Boards, with additional input from the Criminal Justice Community Service programme. The project will dovetail with work that Galloway Fisheries Trust is also about to start on the other smaller river catchments in Dumfries and Galloway, and together will provide practical work and advice about INNS right across the region's rivers.

Funding has been provided from SEPA's Restoration Fund, LEADER Dumfries & Galloway and Patersons Quarries Ltd, through the Landfill Communities Fund. Solway Heritage will provide financial management and Dumfries & Galloway Environmental Resources Centre is providing records management support and a website for the project.

Robert Kerr, SEPA's Operations Manager South-west, said:

"The issue of invasive species is a national one, threatening biodiversity across the UK. Their ability to aggressively colonise many areas has resulted in damage to our environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. It's essential that everyone understands the problems caused by these species and how to help prevent their increase. We must all share responsibility for this issue."

A project leaflet has been published to help identify the three main plants in this project, which is available from SEPA and partner organisation offices. The leaflet has tips on the best methods of control and prevention of spread and a postcard to enable people to report any sightings.

Find out more at the project website.

UK Marine Policy Statement: a draft for consultation

16 August 2010

UK Marine Policy Statement: a draft for consultation

Deadline for comments: 13 October 2010

Website: http://archive.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marine-policy/100721-marine-policy-statement.pdf

The consultation document states:

"The UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly Government and Northern Ireland Executive are taking action to achieve our vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. A key step in realising this vision is the introduction of the new systems of marine planning provided for in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and proposed legislation in Northern Ireland.

The Marine Policy Statement (MPS) is the framework for preparing Marine Plans and taking decisions that affect the marine environment. It will also set the direction for new marine licensing and other authorisation systems in each Administration. The MPS will apply to all UK waters.

The MPS sets out our collective ambition for the policies that shape the management and use of our marine resources. It will create the framework for consistent and evidence-based marine planning and decision making, and will contribute to the sustainable development of the UK marine area.

This consultation document invites your views on the draft MPS and supporting documents which have been published today. The draft MPS has been shaped by comments we received from a wide range of interested parties during an 8 week pre-consultation held between March and May 2010, as part of the wider engagement programme set out in our revised Statement of Public Participation.

We are seeking your views and suggestions to ensure that the MPS is an appropriate UK framework for marine planning and taking decisions that affect the marine area."


New guides available - gardening without harmful invasive plants

29 July 2010

New guides available - gardening without harmful invasive plants
Plantlife and the Royal Horticultural Society have produced three guides to species you can use in place of harmful invasives:
All three guides provide useful information about what plants to grow along side high quality illustrations.

This work was supported by: the Scottish Government, the Esmee Fairburn Foundation and Defra

The GB Strategy constitutes an "outstanding example of Government commitment to tackling biological invasions", says a new European Environment Agency report

20 July 2010

The GB Strategy constitutes an "outstanding example of Government commitment to tackling biological invasions", says a new European Environment Agency report
The new report entitled 'towards an early warning and information system for invasive alien species (IAS) threatening biodiversity in Europe' examines possible ideas for developing an early warning system for Europe to enable Member States to act more strategically against new threats.  Such a system could help underpin an new EU Strategy on IAS and the report recognises effort in GB to develop a comprehensive policy approach.  Commenting on the GB approach, the report says:

"The GB Non-Native Species Secretariat is an excellent example of identification of competent authorities, their role and responsibilities. The recent Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain provides a comprehensive overarching policy framework for IAS-related activity, including early detection and rapid response. Although not all components of the Strategy are fully operational yet, at the European scene it constitutes an outstanding example of Government commitment to tackling biological invasions."

Read the full report here:  http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/information-system-invasive-alien-species

Research on invasive species information use and sharing needs your help!

08 July 2010

Research on invasive species information use and sharing needs your help!

Researchers at Harper Adams University College are currently investigating ways to improve information use and sharing within the invasive species community and need your help.

A simple anonymous online questionnaire has been developed to explore how people find and share invasive species information. The questionnaire builds on the findings of a survey and workshops held in the UK last year. To take part, you can access the questionnaire via the following link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JHVYL39

Your participation is greatly appreciated. The questionnaire will be available until Friday 3rd September 2010 and the findings will be shared following analysis.


New report available - Towards an early warning and information system for invasive alien species (IAS) threatening biodiversity in Europe

07 July 2010

Stakeholder consultation - EU Strategy on Invasive Species

07 July 2010

Stakeholder consultation - EU Strategy on Invasive Species
Invasive species are species whose introduction/spread may threaten biodiversity, crops, livestock, human health and economy. The Commission Communication "Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species" noted that while EU instruments exist to deal with other drivers of biodiversity loss - habitat change, climate change, overexploitation and pollution – there is currently no comprehensive instrument at EU level to tackle invasive species.

The Environment Council, the Committee of Regions and the European Social and Economic Committee all called for an effective strategy. The Commission intends to bring forward this strategy in 2011, as a component of the post-2010 biodiversity strategy. The objective of the consultation is to obtain a representative picture of the positions of relevant stakeholders and to collect the views of the participants on the future strategy.

Period of consultation - 03.09.2010

Find out more


Conservation volunteers are embarking on a mass clean up of non-native plants on National Trust land in the UK.

11 June 2010

Conservation volunteers are embarking on a mass clean up of non-native plants on National Trust land in the UK.
Click here to see some of their work.

Scientists call on the public to help monitor invasive species (RISC project)

22 March 2010

Scientists call on the public to help monitor invasive species (RISC project)
http://www.nonnativespecies.org/recording

Recording Invasive Species Counts (RISC), launched today in London (22 March 2010), will encourage members of the public to record sightings of six invasive non-native plants and animals within the UK.

Data collected by RISC will help scientists both understand the distribution and ecology of six non-native species, and investigate their impacts on wildlife in the UK. The selected species are Muntjac Deer, Chinese Mitten Crab, Zebra Mussel, Tree of Heaven, American Skunk Cabbage and Creeping Water Primrose.

Welcoming the project Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said, "Non-native species that become invasive are one of the greatest threats to wildlife worldwide. They are estimated to cost the British economy at least £3billion a year, and their impacts can be far reaching - they have adverse impacts on our native wildlife by predation, competition and spread of disease. They can threaten economic interests such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and development."

Species sightings will be submitted online and subsequently checked by experts from the relevant national biological recording scheme. Once verified, records will be added to a national database of species distribution information held by the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat and made available through the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Gateway, which holds data for almost 50 million species records found in the UK.

RISC is based on the on-line system that has been used for the Harlequin Ladybird Survey since the species was first reported in the UK in 2004. The Harlequin survey, due to a hugely enthusiastic response from the public, has so far successfully collected over 35,000 records of this invasive non-native species.

Dr Helen Roy, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and RISC project leader, said, "People's enthusiasm for recording wildlife is inspirational. Over the last five years thousands of people across Britain have contributed records to the Harlequin Ladybird Survey, providing valuable insights into the ecology of this invasive species, its spread throughout the country, and its impact on native wildlife. I am sure that the new surveys launched today, within the Recording Invasive Species Counts project, will be just as successful."

Peter Brown, Anglia Ruskin University and RISC Project Co-ordinator, said, "It is important that awareness of non-native species is raised and their effects better understood. By providing records, members of the public can play a vital role in helping scientists track non-native species and better understand their ecology."

Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca-Davies added, "The Harlequin Ladybird survey highlights the enormous potential for engaging the public in helping us manage non-native species. I look forward to seeing the results of this project and urge everyone to get involved in spotting these species and making a report."

The RISC project is a collaboration between the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, the National Biodiversity Network, Anglia Ruskin University and the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat. Funding has been supplied by Defra. The project is part of the Great Britain Non-Native Species Information Portal which is gathering information on 3,800 non-native species.

Japanese Knotweed psyllid gets the go-ahead

09 March 2010

Japanese Knotweed psyllid gets the go-ahead
For more information visit: http://www.cabi.org/japaneseknotweedalliance/

Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca-Davies gave the go-ahead today for the release of an insect, called a psyllid, to stop the spread of the non-native invasive plant Japanese Knotweed, a devastating plant which costs the UK economy over £150 million a year to control and clear.  

Japanese Knotweed is listed by the World Conservation Union as one of the world's 100 worst invasive species. It grows vigorously at a rate of up to a metre a month, including through tarmac, concrete and drains, causing damage to roads and buildings costing the millions of pounds to remove each year. This deadly plant also damages our natural environment by stopping other plants from growing, and destroying habitats for native species.  

Using an insect - which is a predator of the plant in Japan - to act as a natural form of pest control, will be the first time that a solution like this has been used to help control the spread of a non-native invasive plant in Europe and, if successful, could reduce the costs to the building and engineering industries of clearing this invasive plant.  

Mr Irranca-Davies said:   “Japanese Knotweed causes over £150 million worth of damage and disruption throughout the UK every year.  This project is not only ground-breaking, it offers real hope that we can redress the balance. These tiny insects, which naturally prey on Japanese Knotweed, will help free local authorities and industry from the huge cost of treating and killing this devastating plant.”  

Chair of Environment and Sustainability expert panel at the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Ian Nicholson said:   “Japanese Knotweed is a big issue for the construction industry, costing millions of pounds each year to manage. The ICE therefore welcomes any advances in providing solutions to this invasive species, provided of course they do not produce any other negative impacts on the environment.”  

CABI – a world expert in natural control methods – have carried out extensive research into the best way to combat Japanese Knotweed with the least impact on the environment.  The psyllid was found on Knotweed growing wild in Japan and has now been tested in the UK on over 90 types plants, focussing on closely related native species as well as important crops and ornamental species to ensure it does not attack other plants.  If the first phase is successful, the psyllid will be released at further sites where it will continue to be monitored. Dr Dick Shaw, CABI’s lead researcher on the project said: “This is a great opportunity for the UK to benefit from a technique commonly used outside Europe.  We have every reason to believe that this knotweed specialist can help limit the impacts of this harmful invasive weed safely and sustainably. “ 

New open access journal for invasive species management

05 March 2010

New open access journal for invasive species management
A new international online, Open Access journal devoted to works related with the Management of Biological Invasions is now available. It is open to potential contributions dealing with ecological-conservation, environmental, methodological  and social aspects on this subject. Contributions must be oriented to real practice, or show  implications for wildflife management.  It  is expected to launch two issues per number and year. First issue is open for contributors. Articles are published inmediately after acceptance. Anyone interested may consult the scope, current editorial board and style:

www.managementofbiologicalinvasions.net   This journal may be an interesting platform for managers and researchers, as well as for technicians belonging different disciplines (ecologists, sociologists,  mathematicians, professionals of informatics, economists, etc.).

Conact: Elías Dana editor@managementofbiologicalinvasions.net

Campaign launched to help pond owners Be Plant Wise

03 March 2010

Campaign launched to help pond owners Be Plant Wise
On 24th February Defra and the Scottish government launched their campaign encouraging pond owners to help prevent the spread of invasives.

The campaign is being supported by Charlie Dimmock and launched in England by the Marine and Natural Environment Minister Huw Irranca-Davies and in Scotland by Roseanna Cunningham Scottish Minister for Environment.

The campaign focuses on encouraging pond owners to:
  • know what you grow - some plants can become a problem in your pond and in the wild, ask for help picking the right plants for the size and purpose of your pond and ask how to care for them properly
  • compost with care - dispose of unwanted plants by composting carefully or using your green waste facility
  • stop the spread - even tiny fragments of plants can cause an invasion, so be careful when maintaining your pond
Click here to go to our Be Plant Wise website where you can find more information about managing ponds and the plants in them.

Invasive species jobs / vacancies - Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non Native Species Initiative Co-ordinator

18 February 2010

Invasive species jobs / vacancies - Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non Native Species Initiative Co-ordinator

Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non Native Species Initiative Co-ordinator 
 
South Cumbria Rivers Trust (SCRT) is a young, ambitious organisation aiming to conserve and improve Cumbria’s most important asset - its diverse and beautiful waters. Building on our work to date, we are now to appoint a dynamic and enthusiastic person to lead the charge against Freshwater Invasive Non Native Species in Cumbria.  
 
The Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-native Species (FINNS) Forum has identified a Cumbria-wide coordinator as necessary to deliver its objectives.  
 
Initially the post will be for 18 months with the aim of extending this to five years as the project develops. The post-holder should be prepared to work frequently at weekends and in the evenings.  
 
The suitable candidate will ideally have a minimum of a Bachelors degree in a relevant subject (such as biology, ecology, environmental science, aquaculture, and agriculture or countryside management), a full, clean driving licence, at least two years’ experience working within nature conservation and will be able to demonstrate excellent communication and inter personal skills.  
 
The post will be based with South Cumbria Trust at its offices at the Freshwater Biological Association at Far Sawrey on the west side of Windermere. 
 
Please email ben@scrt.co.uk or phone 01539 816311 for the full job and person spec and application form. 
 
The deadline for applications is 13.00 on Monday 1st March 2010. Applications received after this deadline will not be considered. 
 
Interviews will be held in the week beginning 15th March 2010

Click here to go to their website.


Our new website is here

01 February 2010

Our new website is here
Our new website has arrived!

We hope it will be easier to use and provide more information than our previous site.  However, we're keen to hear what you think.  Please email us with your comments / criticisms and most importantly send in content you think would be useful on these pages.

Local Action Group Workshop provides NNSS with new ideas to help those undertaking work on the ground

29 January 2010

Local Action Group Workshop provides NNSS with new ideas to help those undertaking work on the ground
Motivated individuals working across Great Britain have been helping tackle invasive non-native species by setting up action groups on their own turf.  These local action groups help to keep invasive non-native species under control in their patch and raise awareness of this important issue.

With funding from Defra, the Non-native Species Secretariat convened a workshop for those involved in local action groups to find out what the NNSS could do to help support them.  A two day workshop was held in Preston Montford where attendees were asked to provide feedback on how we could help with the development of local plans, management, training, monitoring, volunteering and communication.    We’ve taken away some very useful ideas to work on and feedback from the workshop suggests attendees found it a valuable experience as well.

Government response to the consultation on amendments to Schedule 9

20 January 2010

Government response to the consultation on amendments to Schedule 9

Defra and the Welsh Assembly have been undertaking a consultation on proposals to review Schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.  The consultation has been concluded and government have published their response.

In the Government Response, Defra lists an additional 24 animals and 38 plants which are being added to the Schedule, making it illegal to plant them in, or release them into, the wild. 7 animals are being removed from the Schedule.  The Order to amend Schedule 9 will be made early in 2010 and will come into force on 6 April 2010.

For more information go to:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/wildlife/management/non-native/documents/gov-response-schedule9%20.pdf


New report published into scarce non-native birds and animals in Great Britain

18 November 2009

New report published into scarce non-native birds and animals in Great Britain
“This study assessed the status of a number of scarce non-native mammals (10 species) and birds (5 species) in England. These species are potentially at the stage of colonisation or establishment at which management may represent a feasible and cost-effective option.”

Click here to download a copy.

Water Primrose ISAP nears completion

09 October 2009

Water Primrose ISAP nears completion
Water Primrose is a potentially damaging invasive non-native species clogging many water ways in northern France.  It's recently been found in England and Wales and a rapid response plan has been put in place to try to tackle it.

Watch out for that alien! - NBN trial public reporting of invasive non-native species

06 October 2009

Watch out for that alien!  - NBN trial public reporting of invasive non-native species
A new survey focusing on non-native species is being launched in March 2010. The idea is to involve people around Britain in looking out for six invasive non-native animals and plants – Muntjac Deer, Zebra mussel, Chinese mitten crab, Water primrose, Tree-of-heaven and American skunk-cabbage. Participants will be able to learn more about these non-native species and may submit records via special pages within this website, ideally with a photograph of the sighting. Keep your eyes open for further news…

sent in by Peter Brown - project manager at the NBN


MBA to undertake rapid surveys along England’s southern coast for the Didemnum vexillum

06 October 2009

MBA to undertake rapid surveys along England’s southern coast for the Didemnum vexillum

MBA to undertake rapid surveys along England’s southern coast for the Didemnum vexillum seasquirt that is already prompting urgent action after being found at Holyhead harbour in North Wales.


Didemnum vexillum on the rise

10 September 2009

Didemnum vexillum on the rise
Carpet sea-squirt was believed to be in a slow invasion phase, but worryingly spread appears to be speeding up.

Proceedings of the 6th annual stakeholder forum

01 August 2009

Proceedings of the 6th annual stakeholder forum

The aim of the even was to agree a set of priorities that will help support local action (e.g. through
forums, committees, etc) and assist in the delivery of the GB Strategy.

The proceedings of the forum have now been published, click here to download them.



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