My post in 2013 on EU IAS is here.
16th April (today), the European Parliament is voting on the IAS Regulation. Progress is followed here.
In Scotland – The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 made a number of significant amendments to the provisions on invasive non-native species in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in Scotland.
– First, the 2011 Act amended section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as it applies in Scotland, so as to make it an offence to release an animal, or allow one to escape from captivity, to a place outside its native range or where the animal is of a type specified by the Scottish Ministers. It is also an offence to cause any animal outside the control of any person to be at a place outside its native range. There is a similar offence in relation to plants grown in the wild.
– The 2011 Act also introduced species control orders, a mechanism by which invasive species present on premises or land can be controlled with a view to preventing their spread into the wider environment.
The model adopted in Scotland comprises four basic stages:
(1) Investigation: the provisions allow the relevant body to enter land or premises for the purpose of investigating whether a species outside its native range is present on the relevant land or premises;
(2) Species control agreements (made between the relevant body and the owner or occupier of land or premises on which invasive non-native species are present) provide for operations to be carried out to control or eradicate invasive non-native species;
(3) Species control orders: if a species control agreement is not agreed or not carried out, the relevant body can make a species control order, specifying operations to control or eradicate invasive non-native species to be carried out on the premises or land in question;
(4) If the species control order is not complied with, the relevant body can itself carry out the operations – or arrange for them to be carried out.
In England and Wales – the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to release, or allow to escape into the wild any animal which:
(1) is of a kind which is not ordinarily resident in and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state; or
(2) is included in part 1 of schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
It is also an offence to plant or cause to grow in the wild any plant listed in part 2 of schedule 9 to the 1981 Act. But there is no wider prohibition of planting or causing to grow plants not ordinarily resident in Great Britain. It is a defence to prove that all reasonable steps were taken and due diligence exercised in attempting to avoid the commission of one of the above offences. Activities otherwise prohibited can be permitted under a licence. The sale of species covered by the above provisions can additionally be restricted by order.
There are also other laws which regulate import of non-native species.
The species control regime in Scotland allows for operations to control or eradicate an invasive animal, plant or fungus present on land or premises, excluding dwellings. The procedure is built principally around two elements: species control agreements and species control orders.
These sophisticated mechanisms are not available in England and Wales, and this matter is being looked into by the UK Law Commission. It’s recent report (issued 11th February 2014) is here.