CIEEM have provided an excellent seminar covering the policy, legislation and regulations on invasive species in the UK and Ireland.
Key points from the regulations are that landowners must act responsibly and not allow or encourage a listed plant or animal to grow or spread outside their land, to avoid committing an offence. Landowners should consider safely removing and disposing of any such plants. Penalties for committing an offence can include imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
Site surveys should include consideration of invasive species. Where invasive species are recorded on your site, or surrounding it, the pathways to or from your site in terms of infection should be identified as well as other detailed records such as photographs, GPS co-ordinates and so on. Your client should be informed immediately, providing details of actions that should be taken, including fencing off the area and, where required, informing grounds management. The latter is particularly important where there are health and safety risks to personnel such as with giant hogweed.
An assessment of all potential risks should be completed and a management plan should be completed with clear statements of the objectives, findings and recommendations.
Keeping a record of these steps are an essential part of the process to allow your client to demonstrate that due diligence and all reasonable steps have been taken to avoid committing an offence.
For details of the regulations governing invasive species click here to access the full webinar.
Further details on invasive species from the Non Native Species Secretariat, including species identification sheets can be found here.