January 22, 2019


Parliament is agreeing two new statutory instruments on the European Alien Species Regulation; one tidies up the Regulation as we leave the EU, the other, yet to be tabled, will implement its provisions.  The two SIs being considered by the Houses of Parliament are:

  1. Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.  This was laid on 13th December 2018 and comes into force on 29th March 2019.  It is part of the Brexit nationalisation process so is purely administrative, changing language where the Regulation mentions names such as the European Commission.  This needs to be passed and adopted before the legislation on penalties, management plans and action plans is introduced and agreed. It provides the opportunity to discuss the problems that will arise when the other SI is published.  
  2. Invasive Non-native Species (Enforcement & Permitting) Regulations 2019 will set out the Government’s plans on management and action plans and in particular what it proposes to do with existing widespread alien species such as grey squirrel and muntjac.  It cannot be laid until the Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 are approved as it gives the legal foundation for the latter Regulations. It has to be laid by 28th March 2019.

The RSPCA supports the principles of the Regulations to manage invasive alien species as they prohibit the keeping of some species that the RSPCA believes are unsuitable to be kept as pets, such as raccoon dogs, as well as prohibiting their release into the wild.  However, we rehabilitate and release under license some widespread invasive alien species such as grey squirrels – we believe this should continue as it has minimal impact on biodiversity but could see animal welfare consequences if not permitted.  In addition to this the RSPCA believes that Natural England should publish and consult on their management plan before publication of the second Regulation in March.

For further information please see our briefing.