Sunday, 24 August 2014

Efforts to curb invasive species spark battle in the countryside

Wildlife experts warn that government attempts to draw up new controls on invading non-native species could threaten familiar birds such as barn owls, and damage British biodiversity

The Observer, Saturday 23 August 2014 12.47 BST

It is an issue that has perplexed writer and composers from William Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde to Gilbert and Sullivan: just what does it take to be a native of these shores?

Most have answered by stressing the spiritual qualities needed to be British or simply by making fun of the notion. But for wildlife experts today, the definition of what it takes to be a true native of Britain is posing major headaches.

Indeed, many believe that government plans to introduce new controls on invasive species – from Japanese knotweed to escaped minks – in the forthcoming infrastructure bill could rebound – with devastating consequences for biodiversity. And they blame the government for failing to provide a proper definition of the term "native species".

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