Skip to main content

Invasive Weeds

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to use (a) promotion and (b) education to heighten awareness of the non-native invasive weeds identified by the Non-native Species Review Group: and if she will make a statement. [117805]

The working group of the Review of Non-native Species Policy recommended that Government should develop a targeted education and awareness strategy involving all relevant sectors. My Department is developing, in liaison with the Devolved Administrations, the Government response to the report and it is intended to undertake a public consultation later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what environmental assessment has been undertaken to measure the impact of non-native invasive weeds on the countryside; and if she will make a statement. [117806]

An overall assessment of the impact of non-native species was undertaken in the Review of Non-Native Species Policy, which included case studies on Japanese knotweed and New Zealand pigmyweed (also known as Australian swamp stonecrop).More detailed, site-specific environmental assessments have also been undertaken by English Nature and the Environment Agency. English Nature commission work on a fairly regular basis, that includes assessments of invasive non-natives species, often as part of a wider programme of investigations. For example, as part of its Lakes Restoration Project, English Nature has undertaken an environmental appraisal of the impact of New Zealand pigmyweed at a site in Shropshire, which threatens a native plant, floating water plantain. The presence of invasive non-native aquatic plants is one of the causes for unfavourable condition of a number of freshwater Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This appraisal included an assessment of control options and a programme of control is planned for later this year at three SSSI lakes. A monitoring programme to determine the efficacy of different control techniques and the recovery of native plant species will accompany the control.The Environment Agency has assessed river habitats using a standard assessment that includes the recording of three non-native species: Japanese knotweed, giant hogweed and Himalayan Balsam.