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Non-native species

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 219390, tabled on 11 February 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether Natural England plans to consult on the implementation of the Invasive Alien Species Order 2019 to create species action plans that allow a flexible and risk-based management approach to licensing the release of (a) grey squirrels, (b) muntjac deer and (c) other widespread species where their release poses no threat to native wildlife.

Answered on

19 February 2019

While the rescue of wildlife will not be illegal under the Order, the re-release of listed invasive species that have been taken from the wild will not be permitted.

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.

There are no plans to allow the release of widespread invasive species listed under the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation 2014, except as part of a specific licenced activity aimed at supporting the control of the species.

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.