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New EU Law To Protect Against Invasive Species

12 September 2013

New proposals have been put forward for a Europe-wide ban on the introduction of selected non-native plants.

European CommissionThe European Commission is proposing legislation that will limit the import of non-native animals and plants across the EU to help prevent and manage the threat from invasive species.

The Commission estimates that there are currently more than 12,000 non-native species across the continent, of which 15% are invasive and posing a threat to biodiversity costing Europe at least €12 billion a year in damage to infrastructure, yield losses and human health.

Under the proposed legislation, selected species will be banned from the EU, meaning it will not be possible to import, buy, use, release or sell them, with sanctions to be handed down to any traders that flout the rules.

The Commission’s proposals will centre on three kinds of intervention:

  • Prevention – member states will organise checks to prevent the intentional introduction of invasive species, whilst also taking action to stop unintentional moves, such as species coming into the EU trapped in containers.
  • Early warning and rapid response – member states will take immediate action to eradicate any species of concern.
  • Management of established invasive alien species – member states will put in place measures to minimise the harm caused by invasive species that are already widely spread.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “The legislation we are proposing will help protect biodiversity and is targeted to allow us to focus on the most serious threats. This will help improve the effectiveness of national measures and achieve results in the most cost-effective way.”

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