Friday, February 20, 2015

Parliament of the United Kingdom - Infrastructure Act 2015, a new effort in controlling invasive species

Some news from our friends across the Atlantic.  It is estimated that the economic impact of invasive species in the UK is at least £1.8 billion a year.  They have many of the same invasives that plague the US (e.g. Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed, water hyacinth, Egyptian goose, nutria, etc.) and also have many of the same problems with controlling the spread across their country.  Included in Infrastructure Act 2015, which discusses building planning, the role of police officers, highways, and energy, was PART 4: Environmental control of animal and plant species.  

This piece of the law covered amendments to the list of species considered non-native as well as gives an environmental authority a new role and permissions in invasive species control on private property.  When an environmental authority has determined that an invasive species is present within private property, the property owners may enter into a "Species Control Agreement" with the environmental authority.  This agreement outlines the objectives, the responsible party, the plan of control, limitations of the Agreement/control measures, timeline, and if there are any issues of payment in regard to the control efforts.  

If there is a breakdown in the "Species Control Agreement," under certain circumstances (i.e. failure to comply with the agreement, emergency, or no identifiable owner), the environmental authority has the ability to issue "Species Control Orders."  Depending on the conditions of the issue of the Order, the scope of the provisions are limited but are similar to the Agreement (e.g. identification of parties involved in control efforts, indication of payment for control efforts, timeline, etc.).  However, non-compliance with the Order has defined processes for Enforcement and Offenses.  Property owners have the right to appeal offenses and to seek compensation for damage due to eradication efforts.

The law has also defined the Powers of Entry on all property for investigation and carrying-out of "Species Control Agreements" and "Species Control Orders" and lists the conditions and authorising entities under which an individual may enter a property.

To view the law passed: Infrastructure Act 2015