RHS response to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee Report

Thursday 17 April 2014

The RHS welcomes the Environmental Audit Committee report on Invasive non-native species as a useful contribution to the debate around how best to manage the threat these species may pose, especially in light of developments in this area at national and EU level.

We particularly welcome the report’s recognition that a targeted ‘blacklist’ is the most pragmatic approach when assessing the risk posed by a particular species. Further, the Committee’s call for greater transparency in the listing process for species of National concern, with agreed criteria, and that the listing process is regularly updated would be positive steps forward if accepted by the Government.

While we agree that the risk assessment process needs streamlining, we do feel that for any risk assessment process to be successful it is vitally important that the correct species are identified. The consequence of the incorrect naming of the target species can include the diversion of scarce resources, both financial and human, away from the real threat and potentially result in inappropriate control measures. The RHS is internationally recognised for its expertise in the naming of cultivated plants and our contribution can help to strengthen the risk assessments.

A very positive thread running through the report’s recommendations is the acknowledgement that in order to effectively protect native biodiversity a range of organisations, both within and outside government, need to come together to face the threat of invasive non-native species. By sharing information and control strategies and ensuring the public is educated about the nature of the threats we will be in a much better position to effectively manage invasive non-native species and reduce the risk of new species coming into the UK.

There is an important recognition within the report that resources have to be used more wisely than they have been in the past, a position the RHS wholeheartedly supports. This is reflected in the common sense stance in Recommendation 23, that those invasive species where no clear desired outcomes can be established should be removed from the national list.

The RHS supports the ambition of the report and will continue its work in fostering responsible horticultural practice, and is keen to share information and insight into how best to manage the threat posed by invasive non-native plants.

The full report can be read here: http://www.parliament.uk/eacom

-Ends-

Notes to editors

For more information, please contact Garfield Myrie in the RHS Press Office on 020 7821 3060 or emailgarfieldmyrie@rhs.org.uk.

About the RHS
The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood for the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture. We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity.

Today the RHS is committed to providing a voice for all gardeners. We are driven by a simple love of plants and a belief that gardeners make the world a better place. 210 years on we continue to safeguard and advance the science, art and practice of horticulture, creating displays that inspire people to garden. In all aspects of our work we help gardeners develop by sharing our knowledge of plants, gardens and the environment.

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

 

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

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