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Non-native Species

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 11520, tabled on 3 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent evidence her Department has of the effect of invasive non-native species since the publication the 2010 technical report entitled The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species on Great Britain by Frances Williams et al.

Answered on

10 February 2020

The evidence that invasive species are having an ever greater impact on biodiversity, globally and domestically, is undeniable. The 2019 Environmental Audit Committe report, developed using a wide range of evidence sources, highlighted the risks these species pose to native biodiversity. It also called for greater levels of prevention, management, control and public awareness regarding invasive species and their negative effects on the environment.

Defra is also in receipt of the 2019 UN global assessment report on biodiversity which concluded that “the numbers of invasive species per country have risen by around 70 per cent since 1970” and that “invasive non-native species have contributed to 40 per cent of the animal extinctions that have happened in the last 400 years and are the biggest threat to biodiversity on islands”. Defra is aware that the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services found that invasive species were one of the top five direct drivers for changes to nature and were included in a list with climate change and pollution.

Reports such as “The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species on Great Britain” remain highly relevant, as the impact of invasive non-native species (INNS) has not decreased since the report was published. Defra recently however commissioned a scoping study aimed at documenting the current evidence in relation to the ecosystem service impacts of INNS in the UK. This study[1] sought to determine the feasibility of expanding on the 2010 report by estimating natural capital costs incurred by INNS, alongside the direct economic costs which the 2010 report focused upon.

[1] Scoping study: ecosystem services and natural capital costs of invasive non-native species in the UK - BE0162