invasive plant species

Invasive Species

If you have invasive species on your site we have the necessary experience and expertise to advise on the legal and commercial implications of dealing with them

Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981(as amended) currently lists 139 species for which it is an offence to introduce or cause to establish in the wild. This list is not exhaustive and many harmful non-native species are not listed, but it give some degree of protection to our native wildlife and habitats from some of the most aggressive non-native species and others with potential for harm.

Invasive animal species listed on part one of the schedule include five species of non-native crayfish, American mink and grey squirrel. Part two of the schedule lists plants including Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, water primrose, rhododendron, several seaweeds, and a range of water plants such as Canadian Pondweed. Several rare native species are also listed, this is primarily to prevent unrecorded reintroductions of these species. See here for a full list

The Law

Species present on the Schedule 9 list may not be released or introduced without a licence, allowed to escape into the wild, or caused to be spread in the wild. Dumping unwanted plants in streams or ponds may be an offence, as may be inappropriate disposal of soil contaminated with Schedule 9 plant species. Appropriate removal techniques need to be employed if these plants are likely to be disturbed by development.

The UK Government also has powers to ban the sale of invasive plants to the public, and several aquatic species have now been banned from sale including parrots feather.

Expert Ecologists

Our expert botanists undertake assessments for invasive plant species. In addition we have ecologists who have particular interests in various groups of invasive animals (crayfish  and other aquatic invertebrates, mammals, herptiles, birds).  All of our ecologists adhere to our rigorous biosecurity protocols combining statutory advice to ensure we do not transfer diseases or invasive species between sites. Our GIS team is able to produce high-quality maps to show the distribution of invasive species.

Working with invasive non-native plant species

Careful eradication techniques must be employed if these plants are likely to be disturbed by development. This can be complicated; a case in point is Japanese knotweed.  Since it was introduced in the mid nineteenth century, Japanese knotweed has caused serious problems in a range of habitats, particularly roadsides, riverbanks and derelict land, by displacing native flora and even causing structural damage.

Where colonies of invasive species need to be removed we work closely with a network of specialist contractors who are experienced in this type of control work. Specialists dealing with invasive plants can be found at the Property Care Association.

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