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GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy 2015 published

The Great Britain Invasive Non-native Species Strategy 2015 was published last week and updates and replaces the original Strategy published in 2008. Broadly the Strategy summarises the success since the original plan and sets out objectives and key actions for the future.

The Strategy has benefited greatly from the extensive input of a wide range of stakeholders and can be downloaded here.

Also at present the Draft Strategy Implementation Plan is also being completed. This is simply a table that sits alongside the Strategy and includes more detail on the delivery of each key action. When completed this will be added to our news section as well, so watch this space!

Equipment available

Stem_injector

Purchasing equipment required to manage some invasive species can be expensive, and considering it’s generally not required all year round it can be difficult to set aside those resources. So with the aim of making these resources easier to access, LISI has purchased some specific equipment that can be borrowed.

The equipment:
At present we have a limited number of Japanese knotweed injector systems for loan, see picture.

Who can borrow it:
At present we are able to loan these free of charge to not-for profit organisations and community groups etc. that are working to manage invasive species within London. After July however we will need to charge a small fee to allow us to continue to provide access to these resources. Please note that anyone borrowing equipment for carrying out commercial works will be charged. LISI reserves the right to refuse any request that it deems inappropriate on a case by case basis.

How do I borrow it:
It’s easy to borrow the equipment; all you need to do is get in contact with us to talk about your requirements. As a licence is required to use pesticide within the UK, we are only able to provide the equipment to those that are able to provide proof of having obtained one and a licence number will need to be provided.

We have included a complete checklist below to highlight the steps involved:
1. Get in contact with LISI regarding your requirements at enquiries@londonisi.org.uk
2. Make sure that the treatment you are proposing is appropriate.
3. Book in the time you would like to borrow the equipment, and receive confirmation.
4. Review and return signed and completed terms and conditions form.
5. Ensure you have all the required licences/permits etc. and all the required OH&S and COSH assessments etc.
6. Come to collect the equipment from LISI, we are based in London Wildlife Trust’s office in Westminster
7. Pick a day with appropriate weather and carryout works.
8. Clean equipment.
9. Fill out all appropriate paperwork.
10. Return clean equipment and all paperwork required to LISI.
11. Report Japanese knotweed records and management to LISI via our online form here
12. Monitor site for regrowth and report progress to LISI at enquiries@londonisi.org.uk

Infrastructure Bill receives Royal Assent

As people may have already seen, a few weeks ago the Infrastructure Bill received Royal Assent meaning that species control agreements and orders are possible in England and Wales from April 2015 when the legislation comes into force.

For those interested the legislation can be found here. 

This is a step towards wider scale management of key invasive non-native species. These orders will make it possible for environmental authorities to enter control orders with landowners to ensure action can be taken against harmful species, either to eradicate, control or prevent the return of an invasive non-native species. Under certain circumstances, it will compel land owners or occupiers to carry out control or eradication operations, or allow them to be carried out by the issuing authority.

So what will happen now? At present the Secretary of State is drafting a code of practice as required under the new legislation. This will provide more detailed information on species control agreements and orders and how they will function. This will be publicly consulted, although we will need to wait until after the looming elections and purdah to pass before consultation starts.

If you have any questions you can get in touch with us on our contacts page and we will try to answer any questions you may have.

Added: 25th February 2015

Quagga mussel in the Thames

Quagga mussel - Dreissena rostriformis bugensis

 

So by now you will have heard about quagga mussel (Dreissena rostriformis bugensis) and its arrival in the United Kingdom. For those who haven’t here is a summary of the key information.

The original population was found in a tributary of the River Colne by Environment Agency ecologists and confirmed on the 1st October 2014 by Dr David Aldridge of Cambridge University. Since then these further populations have been identified:

West of London:

  • Wraysbury Reservoir
  • Queen Mother Reservoir
  • Queen Elizabeth II / Bessbourough Reservoirs, and
  • Queen Mary Reservoir

North of London:

  • Warwick East Reservoir
  • Warwick West Reservoir, and
  • William Girling Reservoir

A population has also been identified in the Thames at Richmond, firmly confirming their presence in London.

The arrival of the quagga mussel has been anticipated for a number of years and is similar to the already present zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha).

Why is this a problem?

Quagga mussels are a major concern as they:

  • Are prolific biofoulers, meaning that they able to clog up pipes and other underwater structures which is a considerable concern to those in various water industries.
  • Have increased filtering capacity, which results in an altering of the whole freshwater ecosystem.
  • Can changes algal diversity which can increase the chance of algal blooms.
  • Can be a direct threat to other native slower growing mussels who can be smothered by the faster growing quagga mussels.

What now?

LISI held a workshop in November at London Zoo (Zoological Society of London) with key stakeholders to raise awareness of quagga mussel and to raise awareness of appropriate biosecurity options. As no effective removal or eradication method is known for quagga once established in open river systems, the best method of slowing the spread is carrying out effective biosecurity. This should be done in line with the Check, Clean, Dry method.

  1. Check your equipment and clothing for live organisms – particularly in areas that are damp or hard to inspect.
  2. Clean and wash all equipment, footwear and clothing thoroughly. Research has found that washing with warm water can increase the effectiveness of this step.
  3. Dry all equipment and clothing – some species can live for many days in moist conditions. And make sure you don’t transfer water elsewhere.

More considered biosecurity may be required for some people and organisations and further information on biosecurity planning can be found here.

LISI is able to provide Check Clean Dry posters, stickers and ID booklets to partners to encourage better biosecurity throughout London so do get in touch if you would like information about these resources.

Identification and Reporting:

It can be very difficult to tell the quagga and zebra mussels apart, so it is advised to refer to the identification sheets which can be downloaded from the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat. If you suspect you have found some quagga mussels please take some pictures of the key identification features (on the ID sheet above) and send them to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

If you would like any further information on quagga mussels or other invasive non-native species please do get in touch with us at LISI

Killer snake headlines debunked

There have been some interesting headlines over the weekend regarding Aesculapian snakes in London, such as the Daily Mirror’s ‘Colony of killer snakes ‘capable of crushing small children to death’ on loose in London’.

The London Invasive Species Initiative (LISI) has put together some information which we hope will clear up some inaccuracies.

Below is our original statement, in response to a request for information on their population in London. Note that LISI is not calling for the eradication of the species in London, as reported in some media.

‘The species of concern list for the Greater London area has been compiled by a range of industry professionals and land managers within London and is reviewed and updated quarterly. This list does indeed include the Aesculapian snakes that are being referred to, although no action that I am aware of has been taken to remove this population, nor does LISI have any plans to do so at present. This species is listed in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 meaning it is illegal to allow the species to spread or escape into the wild. At present there is limited information on what effects the species may have on our local ecosystems and further information would be hugely valuable in developing appropriate management plans for this population’.

LISI would require further information and monitoring of this species before advising on any further action. With so many other invasive non-native species having a detrimental effect on our environment, it is not feasible to spend limited resources on a species that does not at present seem to be having a significant impact on our ecosystems.

As for the concern about people’s safety, when left alone Aesculapian snakes are a docile and non-venomous species. Please rest assured that your children will not risk being crushed by snakes whilst wandering through central London.

European Parliament backs EU-wide plans to stem the spread of invasive alien species

The European Parliament have backed measures to stop invasive non-native species of plants or insects from getting into the EU, or to limit the ecological and economic damage caused by those that do.

Further information and European Parliament press release can be found here

Environmental Audit Committee publish report on invasive non-native species

The report sets out the findings of the Committee’s inquiry, which examined the measures covered in a proposed EU regulation on the management on invasive species, as well as proposals from the Law Commission to change the law on invasive species.

The Environmental Audit Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to consider to what extent the policies and programmes of government departments and non-departmental public bodies contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development; to audit their performance against such targets as may be set for them by Her Majesty’s Ministers; and to report thereon to the House.