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Non-native Species

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 211685, tabled on 23 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of making wildlife rescue exempt from the Invasive Alien Species Order 2019 in order to protect grey squirrels and muntjac deer.

Answered on

31 January 2019

The rescue of wildlife will not be illegal under the Order, however the re-release of listed invasive species that have been taken from the wild will not be permitted. Grey squirrel and muntjac may be kept till the end of their natural lives by rescue centres, under licence.

Neither grey squirrel nor muntjac deer are protected in the UK and both are highly invasive species which cause significant impacts on domestic ecosystems and protected species. Grey squirrels also have a negative impact on our forestry.

Risk assessments for both species have been carried out under the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species 2014. For muntjac deer, the EU adopted the UK’s risk assessment for this species, which concluded it has the potential to cause ‘major’ impacts. For the grey squirrel, it was concluded that this species was ‘high’ risk with the potential to cause major impacts.

The UK is committed to reducing the impacts of invasive non-native species within our borders. The Invasive Aliens Species (enforcement and permitting) Order 2019 is part of fulfilling these commitments, as laid out by the Government’s 25 year environment plan. The Order also fulfils our obligations under the EU regulation to manage our widespread invasive non-native species.