There are thousands of non-native species in the UK, both those that are deliberately introduced and accidental colonisers. Of these a small proportion are invasive, and cause damage to native ecosystems. These species cause environmental harm and some, such as Giant Hogweed, can be harmful to human health. It is therefore important to be aware of these species and help reduce their spread wherever possible.
Invasive non-native species of flora and fauna are considered the second biggest threat after habitat loss and destruction to biodiversity worldwide.1 Once established, they are very often impossible to eradicate and can present a huge cost to the economy, both in terms of the costs associated with removing them and also because of indirect costs resulting from the loss of the native flora and fauna they replace, for example by undermining river banks and affecting water quality, or disruption to the leisure and tourist industry from clogged waterways and damaged equipment.
There are a number of non-native invasive species in Essex, please report sightings of them to us and help prevent their spread by making sure that you do not transfer them from one site to another. The Non-Native species secretariat http://www.nonnativespecies.org has identification guides and more information on invasive species. Please also follow basic biosecurity measures when visiting more than one site, more information can be found below.
1. Source: The Invasive Non-Native Species Framework Strategy for Great Britain.
Biosecurity advice: Be Plantwise, and Check Clean Dry equipment - see below: