The Environmental Audit Committee is to take evidence at St Catharine’s College as part of its inquiry into invasive species.
Members of the public are invited to attend the free evidence hearing on Tuesday 11 June. The cross-party MPs will question researchers from the Biosecurity Research Initiative at St Catharine’s, as well as practitioners, NGOs, border authorities and trade associations. The Committee will use the session to inform a major report with recommendations to Government, due to be published this autumn.
Invasive non-native species are those that are introduced by humans into areas outside their natural past or present distribution, either deliberately or accidentally, and which subsequently cause harm to native biodiversity, the economy, our health and the way we live. They are estimated to cost the UK economy £1.8 billion per year.
Globally, invasive non-native species are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. They are a significant problem for the UK Overseas Territories which are home to 94% of the UK’s biodiversity. Many of these are small and remote islands which have high levels of rare and endemic biodiversity. Invasive species can be particularly harmful in these environments as many of the native plants and animals have evolved without many predators, competitors and diseases.
The number of invasive non-native species in the UK and its overseas territories is among the highest globally and their presence is growing with the expansion of international trade, transport and travel. Around 10-12 new species become established in the UK each year of which one is likely to become invasive.
Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, Mary Creagh MP, said:
“The threat from invasive species, particularly in the UK and its overseas territories is clear. Human activity is largely responsible, but climate change is making the problem worse. Many non-natives are now able to travel further and survive in places that they could not before, causing significant biodiversity loss.
“I am grateful to St Catharine’s College for hosting us and for the insight that researchers from the Biosecurity Research Initiative and our other witnesses will provide. This is a fascinating topic, and deserves priority so we can adapt and tackle the challenges faced.”
Those wishing to attend the event from 10am-12.30pm at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge on Tuesday 11 June should book using Eventbrite. Admission to the hearing is on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that as not everyone who asks for tickets uses them, to make sure we have a full house we send out more tickets than there are places. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.