Japanese Knotweed Credit: GB NNSS

Invasive Species – ‘Stop the Spread’

What are INNS (invasive non-native species)?

INNS are animals, plants and diseases that are able to spread and cause damage to our environment, the economy, or to human, animal or plant health. They can threaten our native species, ecosystems and habitats either directly by spreading disease and competing for resources or indirectly by exacerbating damage to wildlife habitats.

Why are they a problem in the Dales?

Over a quarter of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is made up of nationally and internationally important wildlife habitats such as flower-rich upland hay meadows and extensive areas of moorland, as well as home to important populations of rare plants, invertebrates and mammals, such as bird’s-eye primrose, white-clawed crayfish and the red squirrel. INNS pose a direct threat to many of these habitats and species. As a result of its remote nature, we are fortunate that the Yorkshire Dales are free of many INNS that threaten other parts of the UK, and it is important that we strive to prevent the introduction of new INNS to the region, as well as ensuring we reduce the risk of spreading INNS to further sites within the Dales.

Click here for some examples of harmful INNS and their impacts.

What is biosecurity?

Biosecurity refers to taking practical precautions to reduce spread or introduction of INNS/diseases.

Why should we do biosecurity?

Once INNS has been introduced and become established in an area, it is often impossible to eradicate them and extremely costly and impractical to control and manage them. Therefore, prevention of spread (or introduction in the first place) is the most effective way of limiting the damage caused by INNS. One of the main ways that INNS spread is by people and our movements and activities, “hitch hiking” between areas on boots, clothes, equipment, vehicles and machinery.  Good biosecurity aims to prevent this movement of INNS by making sure equipment and clothing are free of pests and diseases before moving from one site to another.

Have a look at the pages below to get an overview of how to plan for and practice good biosecurity.

How should I do biosecurity?

The national campaign, Check, Clean, Dry, is a simple, three step process aimed at promoting better biosecurity when carrying out any activity in the environment:

A simple, portable biosecurity kit can help you implement simple biosecurity measures and Check, Clean, Dry, and help stop the introduction and spread of pest and diseases. The following list are cheap and easily obtained items to include in your kit:

  • bucket (big enough to fit your boot and a few inches of water)
  • boot pick
  • brush
  • disinfectant
  • hand sanitiser
  • water container (or a large re-used water bottle)
  • portable pressure washer (optional, but handy for cleaning bikes or other equipment that won’t fit in a bucket)