In light of the above, the IMarEST has provided input to the study, focusing on the impact and management of non-native species, that are severely affecting the UK's native biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as public health.

Specifically, invasive species are posing the greatest harm to:

  1. Human health: There are many invasive non-native species (INNS) which pose a risk to human health. Entering the UK through similar pathways as those which impact habitats and biodiversity. The Asian tiger mosquito, for example, is thought to have entered the UK through the transport of goods.
  2. Animal health: There are various examples of INNs posing risks to native species. For example, the grey squirrel is a carrier of the squirrel pox virus. Another example is Asian hornet predation of native species.
  3. Plant health and biodiversity: The disease Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, which attacks both common ash and narrow-leaved ash trees. Native ash species ecology and function is unique and cannot be completely replaced by any other native species. Ash trees allow for high light penetration through their canopies and have a nutrient-rich litter with a fast decomposition rate11 .

The risks of invasive non-native species migrating to the UK from future climate change:

The Association notes that the UK has been experiencing an increase in arrivals  of terrestrial species that appear to have flown from mainland Europe, with 25 such species arriving between 1995-2012.

Negative impacts on UK biodiversity and ecosystems:

Climate change affects the negative impacts coming from invasive species on UK biodiversity, agriculture, and the environment.

Actions to be taken by the UK to mitigate the risk, or adapt to, climate migrations of invasive species:

  1. Researchers should evaluate all INNS currently found near to the UK, prioritising those posing the greatest risk to biodiversity, human health and the environment.
  2. The UK should consider how to extend existing conservation policy and legislation to species colonising from Europe due to climate change, which are not invasive and are threatened across their current native range.

How does the risk of trade and future trading relations brings non-native invasive species to the UK be mitigated:

In the possibility of the Brexit, there is the potential to implement more targeted, better resourced, and stricter biosecurity rules and regulations.

This could be carried out through stricter border checks, tighter permit requirements, and restrictions or bans on certain high-risk imports to the UK.

For more information, you may click on the PDF herebelow