Invasive species are increasingly threatening our environment and according to the Government cost the economy £2m every year. The Infrastructure Act 2015 introduced species control provisions to make sure that, in certain circumstances, appropriate action can be taken against this problem. Essentially the provisions give powers to the Secretary of State, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission to require owners to carry out control operations against invasive non-native species, or allow them to do so themselves. At the end of 2015 the government consulted on a draft Code of Practice on how these provisions should be applied. However, it was not until July 2017 that the results of the consultation and the Code of Practice for England were published.
Primarily, these provisions are designed to tackle newly arrived invasive non- native species or species with relatively limited extent of colonisation but have the potential to become more widely spread, although there may be some occasions when the environmental authority may consider it appropriate to use these provisions in respect of widespread species. The Code of Practice states these statutory provisions will be applied only where the relevant environmental authority has not secured the necessary action in a reasonable time frame through working with the owner. To find out more about the scope and implementation of the provisions please go to http://www.nonnativespecies.org/news/index.cfm?id=249 to download a copy of the Code of Practice for England.