Invasive Species Week 2023: Free resources to help you protect the environment from invasive non-native species
Organisations across the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey are working together on a week of action to raise awareness of invasive non-native species, their impacts, and the simple things that everyone can do to help prevent their spread.
What are invasive non-native species?
Over 2,000 plants and animals have been introduced to Britain from all over the world by people. These are known as non-native species. Most are harmless, but 10-15% spread and become invasive non-native species which can harm wildlife and the environment, cost the economy nearly £1.9 billion a year, and can even harm our health or interfere with activities we enjoy.
What can I do to help?
To reduce the future impacts of invasive non-native species we need to prevent further new species from being introduced and becoming established. There are five simple things that everyone can do to help:
- Keep any boats, clothing, footwear and equipment used in water free of invasive non-native species – remember to Check Clean Dry after use.
- Be Plant Wise and don't let your garden, pond, or aquarium plants enter the wild.
- Take care of your pets, never release them or allow them to escape into the wild. It’s cruel and could harm other wildlife.
- Look out for Asian hornet and other ’alert’ species and record your sightings. View more information on ‘alert’ species below.
- If you enjoy being outside why not volunteer with a Local Action Group working on invasive species management.
Additional guidance for anyone working or volunteering in the field
When working or volunteering in the field there is a risk that you could accidentally spread invasive non-native species and other biosecurity threats, such as diseases, between sites on your clothing, footwear, equipment or vehicle.
You can reduce the risk by following a good biosecurity routine. It’s important to do this every time you go out. Even if you can’t see any invasive non-native species or diseases they could be spread from tiny fragments or invisible to the eye.
You should consider biosecurity at the earliest stage when planning any field work, from surveying an area to removing non-native species. Some biosecurity measures can be as simple and as quick as making sure your equipment (including any sampling or survey equipment), footwear, PPE, and vehicle is clean.
Basic biosecurity advice for site visits
- If practical do not take vehicles onto premises, keep to established tracks and park vehicles on hard standing.
- Arrive at the site with clean equipment, footwear and vehicle.
- Ensure equipment and footwear is clean (visually from soil and debris) before leaving the site.
- Ensure vehicle is kept clean - in particular, remove any accumulated mud before leaving the site.
- Make use of facilities provided on the site to clean footwear/equipment.
- Keep access to a minimum.
- Where possible avoid areas of livestock or known disease.
- Plan visits so that the highest risk site is visited last.
More information on recording ‘alert’ species
One of the easiest ways to help prevent the spread of invasive non-native species is to look out for and record ‘alert’ species. These are species which are a threat to GB but are not yet widely established. If we can intervene at an early stage and stop them from becoming established we can prevent future harmful impacts from these species.
Currently there are 19 ‘alert’ species. The links below provide more information on each species.
- American bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
- Black Bullhead (Ameiurus melas)
- Monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)
- Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
- Raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides)
- Ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
- Sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)
- Siberian chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus)
- Topmouth gudgeon (Pseudorasbora parva)
- Carolina fanwort (Cabomba caroliniana)
- Chilean needle-grass (Nassella neesiana)
- Purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea)
- Sea myrtle (Baccharis halimifolia)
- Various-leaved watermilfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)
- Water primrose (Ludwigia grandiflora)
- American lobster (Homarus americanus)
- Asian hornet (Vespa velutina)
- Japanese sting winkle (Ocinebrellus inornatus)
- Marbled crayfish (Procambarus fallax f. virginalis)
All non-native species records can be submitted through the online recording platform iRecord, including any other unusual sightings. View more information on recording and other websites and apps that you can use to submit records.
Resources available from the GB Non-native Species Secretariat:
Further information and resources on non-native species are available from the NNSS website, including:
- Check Clean Dry guidance for recreational water users
- Be Plant Wise guidance for gardeners and aquarium owners
- Free ID sheets for invasive non-native species
- Biosecurity guidance
- Free online training
- Non-native Species Information Portal with information on over 2000 non-native species
- Local Action Group toolkit
- Gallery of images
- A full list of alert species
- Links to recording website and apps
Invasive Species Week events
Join an upcoming Invasive Species Week webinar hosted by the NNSS:
Tuesday 16th May
12:00-12:40 Webinar: Non-native plants in the BSBI Plant Atlas 2020. With Dr Oliver Pestcott, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Thursday 18th May
12:30-13:00 Webinar: Greater white-toothed shrew. With Professor Graham Smith, Mammal Society Chair of Science Advisory Committee.
Friday 19th May
13:00-14:00 Webinar: Biosecurity for LIFE, saving seabirds on islands. With the Biosecurity for LIFE project team.
More from Non-native species Secretariat (NNSS)