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Invasive Non-Native Species

The Invasive Non-Native Species Working Group addresses issues associated with invasive non-native species in the UK, through both practical intervention and appropriate legislation. The Group advocates these solutions to decision makers, practitioners, and the general public.

Co-Chairs: Craig Macadam and David Smith, Buglife
Link: Lisa Manning, Policy & Engagement Officer

Update from the group:

Our report, Prevention is Better than Cure: A Diagnosis on the state of UK Invasive Species Biosecurity, calls on Government to increase the budget for invasive species biosecurity from £1 million to £6 million per year to fund greater specialist capacity, strategic control and a dedicated inspectorate for invasive species. We estimate that this additional investment would save the UK economy £2.7 billion by 2040 – a return on investment of £23 for every £1 spent.

23 organisations and individuals, including environmental charities, water and construction companies, and Members of Parliament, wrote to HM Treasury Minister Kemi Badenoch in support of the report’s recommendations.

The story – including a newly released list of the top ten most high risk invasive species to the UK – was covered extensively in national and regional press including the Times and the Daily Mirror.

In June 2022, the group submitted comments on the draft refreshed GB INNS Strategy 2022-2030. We made several recommendations for how the draft strategy could be strengthened, including ensuring that all targets throughout the strategy are SMART, broadening the scope of the strategy to incorporate all invasive non-native species and pathways, and a stronger focus on prevention within the strategy. 

In March 2022, the group shared feedback on the Comprehensive Review of Species of Special Concern. We set out the importance of taking a precautionary approach, and urged that none of the species currently listed should be removed. The group also submitted a response to the consultation 'UK Biological Security Strategy: call for evidence'. This sets out the need for a greater recognition of INNS within the scope of the Biological Security Strategy, and a greater focus on the prevention of invasive non-native species from arriving and establishing in the UK.

In January 2022, the group submitted a response to the consultation 'A Plant Biosecurity Strategy for Great Britain'. We set out recommendations for stronger, more effective plant biosecurity - including the need for a dedicated INNS inspectorate - and the need to reduce our reliance on imports of plant and tree material. Building capacity and support for a domestic industry, complemented by increased use of natural regeneration of native trees and diverse, locally sourced, native planting stock, is crucial to reducing risk from this pathway.

In March 2021, the group worked alongside Link's Animal Welfare group to respond to the EFRA Inquiry into Moving Animals Across Borders, highlighting the need for increased capacity and resources to identify and inspect invasive species.

For further information, contact Lisa Manning, Link’s Policy Officer.

Last updated: 7 September 2023