Our use of Cookies

This site uses only cookies strictly necessary to ensure the site works correctly.

Please read about how we use cookies.

Hide this message

Strictly necessary and non-essential cookies

By clicking accept all cookies, you agree to our use of cookies and to our cookie policy.

We use third-party cookies on this site.

You have accepted necessary cookies only

You can change your cookie settings at any time
Hide this message

UK and GB Coordination

The UK Non-native Species Coordinating Mechanism consists of a Programme Board, Committee, Secretariat, Risk Analysis Forum, Stakeholder Forum and Working Groups. The Programme Board and key stakeholders interact via working groups and the annual stakeholder forum, which is facilitated by the NNSS and its website. 

UK Programme Board

The Programme Board was originally established in March 2005 to deliver strategic consideration of the threat of invasive non-native species across Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).  In 2021 its remit was expanded to include all of the UK (including Northern Ireland). The Programme Board is made up of senior representatives from across UK Governments and their agencies, exercising responsibility in their own areas and as representatives of wider interests and it is supported by an independent Secretariat.

GB Non-native Species Committee

The GB Committee was established in 2021 following the UK’s departure from the EU. It comprises members of the Programme Board that represent England, Scotland and Wales and is a separate statutory body established to undertake the functions of the Committee within the retained EU IAS regulation. The Committee has a fundamental role in advising on the potential listing of species on, or de-listing of species from, the list of species of special concern. It does not cover Northern Ireland, to which the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species still applies under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol. The Committee is supported by the same independent Secretariat as the Programme Board.


The GB Non-native Species Secretariat (NNSS) was established in March 2006. The main duties of the NNSS are to support the actions and to undertake a programme of work to meet the aims of the Programme Board and Committee. The NNSS is the focal point for communication and coordination between the Programme Board, Working Groups and stakeholders.

The Stakeholder Forum

A Stakeholder Forum is held annually with representatives from a broad range of sectors. The aim of the Forum is to give relevant stakeholders the opportunity to comment and provide feedback on the progress of non-native species issues in the UK.

Non-native Species Risk Analysis Forum

The Non-native Species Risk Analysis Forum (NNRAF) is a core group of independent risk analysis experts. The NNRAF was originally established in 2006, when it was known as the Non-native Risk Analysis Panel (NNRAP).  In 2021 the remit of the panel was expanded following EU exit and its name was changed to the Non-native Risk Analysis Forum. The main roles of the NNRAF are

  1. to provide the GB Committee with robust, independent risk-based evidence to underpin decision making on non-native species and the application of the retained EU invasive alien species Regulation; and,
  2. to provide a risk analysis function and scientific advice to the UK Programme Board in relation to the GB INNS strategy.

GB Non-Native Species Information Portal

The GB Non-native Species Information Portal (NNSIP) provides a central repository for distribution data and information about non-native species in Great Britain. Launched in 2011, the Portal (hosted here on the NNSS website) provides basic information about all non-native species in Britain and more detailed factsheets for 300. The main aim of the project is to improve the recording and flow of non-native species distribution in Britain and provide a central repository of useful information accessible to all stakeholders.

Working Groups

Working groups are established by the NNSS on behalf of the Programme Board as and when required to examine specific issues or to deliver specified outcomes.

The following working groups have been established:

Rapid Response Working Group

The Rapid Response Working Group was established in 2008 with the main aim of drafting the Rapid Response Report for the Programme Board: a protocol on establishing a clear process for implementing rapid responses against INNS in GB. The group is being re-established to help deliver key actions under the 2022 Strategy.

Media and Communications Working Group (ongoing role)

The Media and Communications Working Group was set up in March 2008. The main task of the working group was to develop the Media and Communication Strategic Plan for the GB Non-native Species Programme Board. An updated Plan was published by the group in 2017.

Training Working (sub) Group (finished)

The Training Working Group was established in October 2010. The Group reviewed training relating to non-native species across Britain and provided recommendations for improvements. A Report of the Non-native Species Training Working Group for Britain was drafted for the GB Non-native Species Programme Board.

Pathway Action Plan groups

A series of Working Groups have been established to develop Pathway Action Plans to prevent or manage the risk posed by particular pathways:

  • Angling Pathway Action Plan Working Group (finished, but with an ongoing role)
  • Recreational Boating Pathway Action Plan Working Group (finished, but with an ongoing role)
  • Zoos Pathway Action Plan Working Group (finished, but with an ongoing role)
  • Horticulture Pathway Action Plan Working Group (in progress)

Find out more and view all Pathway Action Plans.

Country Working Groups

Country Working Groups for England, Scotland and Wales have been established in parallel to the GB Mechanism as a forum for each country to discuss and tackle specific national priorities. These groups are independent of the Mechanism and set their own terms of reference and objectives, however there are close links through the members of each group and the NNSS.

England Working Group on Invasive non-native species

The England Working Group was set up to ensure effective co-ordination and implementation of actions from the GB Non-native Species Strategy and INNS policy in England. The group provide a forum for the exchange of information concerning INNS and is a welcome feedback mechanism from different areas of INNS expertise across different sectors. Membership includes environmental NGOs, trade bodies and industry, outdoor recreation groups, utility companies, government agencies and researchers.

Scotland’s Non-native Species Action Group

Scotland’s Non-Native Species Action group (NNSAG) was established to ensure effective co-ordination and practical implementation of INNS policy in Scotland. The group is chaired by the head of the Scottish Government’s Biodiversity Unit and its primary focus is on terrestrial and freshwater INNS. It comprises members from NatureScot, SEPA, Scottish Forestry, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Environment LINK, Buglife, Fisheries Management Scotland, Police Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Plantlife Scotland along with representatives from Scotland’s national parks, local authorities and the Scottish Government from Plant Health, SASA (Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture) and Marine Scotland.

A separate group, the Statutory Group on Non-Native Species, was set up to oversee the use of new statutory powers and coordinate work between the statutory bodies with specific responsibilities for non-native species in Scotland.

Scottish Marine INNS group:

In recognition of the significant impacts of invasive non-native species (INNS) in the marine environment, the Scottish Government coordinates a Scottish Marine INNS Group which meets quarterly to coordinate efforts to address this environmental threat through monitoring, reporting, scientific research and timely communication through the network.  Membership of the group comprises officials from conservation policy, science and licensing and Fish Health Inspectorate from SG’s Marine Scotland Directorate, statutory organisations NatureScot and SEPA as well as academic specialists in marine INNS from Orkney, Shetland and the Highlands. 

The group meets quarterly and is Chaired by Marine Scotland conservation policy.  The purpose of the group is to provide Scottish expertise and input to Scottish and UK policies on high priority species to monitor now and in the future, sharing knowledge and best practice to enhance and promote understanding of marine INNS amongst policy officials, scientific experts and the general public.

Wales Invasive Non-native Species Group

The Wales Invasive Non-native Species Group was formed to help identify INNS priorities and resolve issues relevant to Wales. The group acts as a source of expertise on INNS in Wales. Membership includes representatives from Wales Biodiversity Partnership, Academia, GB Non-Native Species Secretariat, Local Authorities, Natural Resources Wales, Public Health Wales, Wales Environment Link, Welsh Government, the Welsh Local Government Association and utility companies.

Find out more about the Wales Biodiversity Partnership - Invasive Non-Native Species Group (external link)