Costs and environmental impacts associated with invasive species have been increasing dramatically in recent years. The annual cost to the GB economy is at least £1.7 billion; with Japanese Knotweed alone estimated to account for £166 million of that total. Associated with the economic impact there is the potential for significant disruption to habitats and ecosystems; coupled with social impacts in terms of human health and nuisance.
There are nearly 2,000 invasive non-native species (INNS) established in GB; the majority being terrestrial (c. 1,800) as well as those established in marine and freshwater environments (c.160). The number of INNS establishing themselves in GB is around 10-12 annually. Well-known animal INNS include American mink, signal crayfish and the grey squirrel, alongside plant species such as Japanese Knotweed.
Those established and establishing species provide a major driver for action not just at local, regional and national scales, but also at the international level; with bodies such as the Convention on Biological Diversity acknowledging this threat, and calling through one of its guiding principles calling for national strategies to be established.
At an EU level the Invasive Alien Species Regulations (EC 1143/2014) came into force on 1st January 2015; these regulations require Member States to implement a range of measures to prevent and manage the risks posed by INNS. In the UK, work to tackle INNS is being led by the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS), and through Invasive Species Ireland.
Building on The Great Britain Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy (2015), this project will update CIRIA’s Invasive species management for infrastructure managers and the construction industry (C679, 2008). The guidance will be complemented by a series of briefings describing individual invasive species and detailing the relevant techniques to manage them.