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Invasive non-native species pose a tremendous threat to native biodiversity, causing severe negative environmental and economic impacts. It is one of the principle causes of biodiversity loss, thought to cost an estimated £2 billion in the UK and £1.4 trillion globally per year. Some species are harmful to human health and wildlife, others cause damage to infrastructure.
If you discover what you believe is a Non Native Invasive Species (NNIS) there are a number of things you can do dependent on where this is found. You can check if a plant is a NNIS by looking on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website ID sheets (NNSS). Information is also available on how you can record your findings by using smart phone apps and online reporting platforms.
Depending on the location of the NNIS there are differing channels for this to be reported:
- For any NNIS on the public highway please contact Norfolk County Council.
- If the NNIS is growing on private land please contact the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership (NBP). The NBP can liaise with the District Council and other enforcement boards as necessary and send out informative letters outlining the safe management of NNIS.
- If you have a NNIS growing on your land you can find out more information on the safe management by looking on the NNSS and NBP webpages for advice.
- If you have discovered a NNIS on Council owned land then please report this to North Norfolk District Council via our ‘contact us’ web form or by calling 01263 516195.
NNIS are classed as controlled waste and have varying restrictions revolving around their disposal. Most species can be effectively managed and eventually eradicated by taking appropriate control measures. This is typically achieved using a glyphosate-based herbicide. For some NNIS (such as Japanese knotweed) treatments on site will need to be repeated frequently, for several years and even then may only result in the plant being dormant in the ground and not entirely eradicated.
Please be aware that it is not illegal to have NNIS growing on your land but it is an offence under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act to plant or otherwise cause this species to grow in the wild. You can be held liable for costs incurred from allowing NNIS to spread onto adjacent properties or land.
If NNIS are taken off site they must be disposed of safely at a licensed landfill site according to the Environmental Protection Act (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991. Soil containing rhizome (root) material is regarded as contaminated and, if taken off site, must be disposed of at a suitably licensed landfill site and buried to a depth of at least 5 metres. You can be held liable for costs incurred from the spread of NNIS via disposal of infested soil off site which later leads to the spread of this into another area.
An offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act can result in a criminal prosecution by any of the following environmental bodies, Secretary of State, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission. An infringement under the Environmental Protection Act can lead to enforcement action by the Environment Agency which can result in an unlimited fine.
For more detailed guidance and information you can view DEFRA’s Species Control Provisions Code of Practice for England (July 2017).