MEPs propose new invasive species legislation
Neil Huck (centre) speaking in Brussels on behalf of ELCA at the European Parliament
With issues regarding invasive species escalating across Europe, MEPs have recently approved draft legislation to be presented to the European Parliament. The legislation has resulted in an EU ban on the worst invasive species moving significantly closer to realisation.
Ground Control National Training Manager and ELCA Vice-President, Neil Huck, attended the European Parliament on behalf of ELCA. Neil voiced concerns over the EU’s suggestions to use a template to tackle the 50 most invasive species across Europe.
The draft bill results in the need for member states to honour an obligation to inform EU authorities when they find invasive species. The legislation would also mean any species listed as being of “Union concern” would be banned from being introduced, transported, placed on the market, offered, kept, grown or released in the environment.
Neil was adamant for the need for training when developing the new legislation; “The one thing I did push was training – the need for people to be properly qualified – and that’s going into the new document. There are a lot of people saying they are experts who are not.”
He continued to state that the need to identify those plants imported to the UK that carried invasive risks was paramount. This is something that new training obligations would help ensure.
The devastating effects of the Japanese knotweed were singled out by Neil as being the “biggest problem” amongst the current invasive species. The estimated costs have been labelled as “unbelievable” with some countries being overpowered by the devastatingly invasive plant.
However, Neil also highlighted the water primrose as being a prime example of an “aggressive species” beginning to cause significant issues throughout the UK. Sales of the primrose were banned in April 2013 and Neil is passionate about making sure the industry aligns with the new legislation.
“I see this as a positive move but the authorities need to make sure that the industry goes along with it. I think that’s going to happen. I strongly believe that we need to engage with Europe on this so that it doesn’t get foisted on us.”