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Invasive Plant Species - The List

The legislation surrounding non-native invasive plant species is somewhat fragmented, with some statutes coming from Europe (now carried forward under Brexit arrangements) and others from the UK which itself has separate legislation and enforcement bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern ireland.  

Consequently, although the Wildlife & Countryside Act is the principle legislation in Great Britain & Northern Ireland, each devolved administration has its own list of Scheduled invasive non-native weeds and we have summarised this in our Guidance Note “Non-Native Invasive Plant Species Listed in Various UK and EU Acts and Regulations” 

The ‘knowns’ and ‘unknowns’ of invasive plants

Our ‘List of Invasive Plant Species’ Guidance Note is useful as a crib-sheet to determine the status of an individual non-native plant in each devolved administration, but also highlights some taxonomic changes surrounding a few plants (reference the guidance  footnotes).  

The most important one is for Japanese knotweed which, for several decades now, has been referred to by the latin name Fallopia japonica.  However, through scientific studies of plant morphology and genetics (phylogenetics), taxonomists recently re-assigned Japanese knotweed to the genus Reynoutria.  Clearly, this is now the ‘correct’ name for Japanese knotweed and it should be used where possible, but Fallopia remains the name in virtually all Government statutes and Guidance. At the PCA, we believe both can be used inter-changably for the time being ie. using one or the other, but always giving (at least once) Reynoutria japonica as the accepted, botanically correct, binomial.  

More about Japanese knotweed >>

The invasive ‘known knowns’

The list is a useful reflection of those plants considered by each administration to be established nuisances.  They are the ‘known knowns’ of the invasive plant world. But there are also various legal instruments (summarised in the Management of Japanese Knotweed Code of Practice) available to Defra, SEPA, NRW and the NIEA whereby they can, as required, take affirmative action to enforce the management, removal or control of ANY non-native invasive species (unknown knowns) which are new to the UK or even just new to a specific location or habitat. 

The invasive ‘known unknowns’

This leaves us with a few ‘anomalies’ - the known unknowns - like buddleia and bamboo.  These are well-known garden escapers which are non-native AND invasive yet there seems to be little appetite within the Environmental organisations to give them any official status under the Wildlife & Countryside Act as it applies around the UK.  The PCA has lobbied the GB non-native species secretariat on this matter and we hope they will consider these and others at up-coming review meetings.

Free invasive weed related CPD videos

Want to learn more about invasive plants?

For those interested in learning more about invasive plants & weeds, there is a variety of PCA training options for surveying professionals as well as technical/trade professionals that includes our Invasive Plant iD Course

Use the search tool below to find available timber preservaton related training courses or simply go to our training & qualifications section.  Alternatively, if you want to chat to someone, contract our training team on 01480 400 000 or contact them online.

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