On the 7th December 2015, Defra published a draft code of practice which sets out how the government will use species control provisions in England on invasive non-native species.
New powers – known as ‘species control provisions’ – allow Defra and its agencies (NE, EA and FC) to require land-owners to take action. It also allows them to take action if an owner has refused to act or allow access.
A species control order can be issued to a freeholder or leaseholder. They can also be issued to anyone with legal rights to manage land (eg a Trust). Failure to comply can result in up to 51 weeks imprisonment and/or fines.
Various non-native animals are included on the non-native list. They include grey squirrel, crayfish, several geese species, eagle-owl, ring-necked parakeet, amphibians, ducks, muntjac and sika deer. Non-native plants include Japanese knotweed, Virginia creeper and a number of aquatics, such as the New Zealand pygmy weed.
This does not mean that every land-owner with grey squirrels should be worried about the proposed action. The Code includes a large number of caveats and provisions for a proportional response to the situation and species involved.
The consultation ends in February 2017. To find out more about the consultation click this link here.
Get in touch
agb Environmental can provide advice and support to land owners and managers. Contact Dr Odette Robson on email for advice on Ecology. Or contact Richard Parmee on email for advice on arboriculture and forestry. For further contact details, visit our contact page.