Non-Native Invasive Species
There are many non-native plant species in Northern Ireland which don’t cause problems. A few, however, can become invasive and upset the balance of the ecosystem. They are often bigger, faster-growing or more aggressive than native species and may take over the habitat where they grow.
The Northern Ireland Government website provides details of non-native invasive species https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/invasive-plants
Invasive aquatic species
Ponds can create a wonderful feature in your garden and are often a haven for wildlife. However, if not cared for properly, some aquatic pond plants can take over your pond. Getting rid of some of the worst invasive species can take some time and a number of growing seasons. www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/invasive-aquatic-plants
Details on the legislation on non-native invasive species in Northern Ireland can be found on Invasive Species Ireland http://invasivespeciesireland.com/legislation/northern-ireland/
Report sightings online
The Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR) collates wildlife records for both native and non-native species.
You can record your sightings on their website either as a single record event or you can register with them and send details through a free online account.
Report sightings online by visiting http://www2.habitas.org.uk/records/
Non-native Invasive weed control on Council owned land
Council will manage the following invasive non-native species on Council owned land
Giant Hogweed Japanese Knotweed Himalayan Balsam
To report a non-native invasive species on Council owned land E. firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information for Householders
The main information on non-native invasive species can be found on the NI Direct website https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/invasive-plants
Further information on the management and control of Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed and Himalayan balsam can be found at Property Care Association (PCA) www.property-care.org/homeowners/invasive-weed-control/
The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) provide information on Japanese knotweed. www.rics.org/uk/knowledge/professional-guidance/information-papers/japanese-knotweed-and-residential-property-1st-edition/
How You Can Help
Antrim and Newtownabbey borough Council are keen to raise awareness that invasive non-native species are one of the top five drivers of global biodiversity loss and cost the Northern Ireland economy approximately £46.5 million a year and can even harm our health.
Management of invasive species is a shared problem that requires cooperation and support of the general public and a diverse range of stakeholders and interest groups.
Everyone has a role to play in preventing the incursion and spread of invasive species:
Never introduce or move a non-native species that may cause harm to the environment or economy.
Remember that it is against the law in Northern Ireland and Ireland to release or allow to escape any non-native animal species without a license. This includes species of fish, invertebrates and all other non-native mammal species. It is also against the law to plant or otherwise cause to grow in the wild several non-native plant species.
Here are 5 simple things that everyone can do:
- 1. If you go fishing, boating or paddling, remember to Check Clean Dry your boat, clothing, footwear, and equipment after leaving the water.
- Be Plant Wise and don’t let your garden or aquarium plants enter the wild
- Be Pet Wise: take care of your pets, never release them or allow them to escape into the wild. Its cruel and could harm wildly
- Look out for the Asian hornet, a predator of honeybees which is not yet established in NI. Record your sightings of this and other alert species. Download the free Asian Hornet Watch app (iOS and Android) or report on the iRecord app (iOS and Android) to help.
- If you enjoy being outside why not join a Local Action Group helping to manage invasive plants.
For further guidance, please visit https://invasivespeciesni.co.uk/five-things-you-can-do/