Jim Shannon – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Jim Shannon on 2015-10-19.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what regulatory arrangements apply to potential measures to control and cull invasive non-native waterfowl.

George Eustice

Defra, in conjunction with the Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat, takes the problems and risks associated with non-native waterfowl very seriously. Since the 1990s Defra has commissioned and invested in a range of research projects, carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, on invasive non-native waterfowl, including an assessment of the options for large-scale control and field trials of removal techniques for Egyptian geese. Additionally, best practice management guidelines have been published for Canada geese.

Since 2005 Defra has also supported the UK Ruddy Duck Eradication Programme, and recently, established an Invasive Species Action Plan for the sacred ibis, and is developing an action plan for zoos to reduce the risk of escapes of all species, including waterfowl.

Section 14(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it illegal to release or allow to escape into the wild, any animal or plant which is not ordinarily resident in Great Britain and is not a regular visitor to Great Britain in a wild state, or is listed in Schedule 9 to the Act. This applies to all animals including waterfowl. An amendment to the 1981 Act, introduced this year in the Infrastructure Act 2015, introduced the provision of Species Control Orders, which can be used to remove any non-native species where they cause significant threats to biodiversity, the water environment, human health or the economy, in cases where a voluntary approach with landowners has otherwise failed.