UK Government

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: Native wildlife given further protection in England and Wales

Press Release   •   Dec 21, 2009 11:01 GMT

Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government today added additional invasive non-native species to the list of those that cannot be introduced into the wild.

Native wildlife given further protection in England and Wales

A total of 63 species will be added to the list, including wild boar, floating pennywort, the European Eagle owl and the Monk Parakeet.  These are species that have the ability to spread in the wild, causing damage to the environment, economy, public health and the way we live.

Wildlife Minister Huw Irranca-Davies said:

“It is essential that our native species are given the protection they need to flourish.  2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and it’s more important than ever to do all that we can to halt the loss of biodiversity.  Stopping the spread of invasive non-native species makes a real difference to the survival of our own native plants, birds and animals.”

Following the Defra and Welsh Assembly consultation to strengthen protection given to native wildlife in England and Wales, the list of animals, birds and plants under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 will be amended and updated.  The majority of species listed on Schedule 9 are invasive non-native species.

Invasive non-native species are considered one of the greatest threats to wildlife worldwide.  Their impacts can be far reaching – they have adverse impacts on native wildlife by preying upon it, competing for habitat and/or food and by spreading disease.  They can threaten economic interests such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and development.  Controlling the release of invasive non-native species into the wild is a key element of conserving our native wildlife.

A species’ inclusion on the lists means that it cannot be introduced into the wild.  This can be to protect our native plants and animals or to ensure that re-introduction of species such as the Red Kite is done appropriately, safeguarding our native populations.

The additions to the schedule include:

*  two species of mammal including the Chinese water deer;

*  14 birds including the Snow Goose;

*  eight invertebrates including the Slipper Limpet;

*  35 plants including two types of rhododendron; and

*  two algae.

In addition, seven animal species will be removed from the list, including the Mongolian Gerbil and the Himalayan Porcupine, which are no longer present in the wild.

The consultation ran for 12 weeks from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2008 and results of the consultation were published in May 2009.

Notes to Editors

The rationale for the inclusion of each species to schedule 9 can be found at http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/wildlife/management/non-native/s9-bansale.htm

2.  Schedule 9:  The main piece of legislation covering non-native species is in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).  Section 14 prohibits the introduction into the wild of any species of animal (including birds, reptiles, fish, invertebrates etc.) that is not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state, or any species of animal or plant listed on schedule 9.  Most non-native species listed on schedule 9 are already established in the wild, but continue to pose a conservation threat to native biodiversity and habitats, such that further releases should be regulated.

3.  The consultation covered England and Wales and results of the consultation can be found at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-pets/wildlife/management/non-native/s9-bansale.htm

4.  Changes to Schedule 9 will take effect from 6 April 2009.

5.  The consultation also contained proposals on a ban on the sale of certain species.  To ensure a robust evidence-base and a proportional response regarding each species, Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government have commissioned a risk assessment for each of the species proposed for ban on sale.  However, the risk assessment process has taken longer than expected, and for many species these will not be completed until the end of 2009. Therefore, we will delay making any final decisions on the ban on sale proposals until early 2010.  We will publish Part  2 of the government response outlining our position on these species, including a summary of the evidence, at that time. This is not expected to alter our plans for any necessary Order imposing a ban on sale to come into force in October 2010.

Notes to editors

Contacts

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