The most commonly found invasive plant species include Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, rhododendron and New Zealand pigmy weed (this is banned from sale). These, along with several other species, are listed on Schedule 9 (Part II) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which states that you should not plant or cause these species to grow in the wild. It is therefore the land owner’s responsibility to prevent the spread of these invasive, non-native species.
These species would be identified during the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) to allow appropriate biosecurity measures to be developed to outline how actions to prevent their spread will be implemented during proposed works. This can include a management scheme prior to works commencing to remove the invasive plant growth, or efforts during works to prevent the spread (such as avoidance of areas and/ or foot/ vehicle washes).
IMPORTANT: Any handling of giant hogweed should only be undertaken by experienced persons with appropriate protective equipment, as giant hogweed possesses corrosive sap that can inflict severe burns that may require hospitalisation.
In addition to non-native invasive species, some plants are listed as harmful weeds and it is the land owner’s responsibility to prevent the spread of these species on to a neighbour’s property; these include common ragwort, spear thistle, creeping or field thistle, broad-leaved dock and curled dock. These species can often be a danger to animals or cause problems for agriculture production.
Also listed on Schedule 9 (Part I) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 are several animal species that apply to the details under Section 14, which makes it an offence to release or allow to escape into the wild. These include, among others, species such as the signal crayfish, American mink, grey squirrel and alpine newt; all known to have a negative impact on native fauna as carriers of disease and/ or through outcompeting.
The likely presence of these species would be identified during the Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) to ensure that appropriate actions are undertaken during proposed works to prevent the spread of these species. Please get in contact with the team to discuss invasive, non-native species further.
- Prevent harmful weeds and invasive non-native plants spreading, Natural England
- Prevent Japanese knotweed from spreading, Natural England
- Identification sheets for invasive non-native species, Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS)
- Identification of injurious weed, Natural England
- Schedule 9 – Animals and Plants, Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
- The Definitive Guide to Japanese Knotweed (2017 Edition)
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