Legislative Framework

Recognition of the importance of the prevention, control and eradication of non native invasive species, parasites and diseases in river catchments has led to a number of international conventions (Bern Convention, 1979; Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992) and European Directives (Birds Directive, 1979; Habitats Directive, 1992 and Water Framework Directive, 2000) as well as domestic legislation.

The principal domestic legislation governing non native invasive species is The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) 1981 (as amended by the Nature Conservation Scotland Act, 2004). The amendments to the Wildlife and Countryside Act implement the requirements of the Bern Convention, 1979; the Birds Directive, 1979 and the Habitats Directive, 1992.

Under Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act it is an offence to release any animals that are not ordinarily resident in and are not regular visitors to Great Britain (or hybrids of those animals) into the wild; or to release (or in the case of plants, cause to grow) any species of animal or plant listed on Schedule 9 of the Act. The Nature Conservation Scotland Act 2004 also defines new offences, powers and penalties in relation to the release and cause to grow of species on Schedule 9 of the Act. All the species to be addressed by this plan are included on Schedule 9 of the Act. Other relevant national legislation includes:

  • The Possession of Pesticides (Scotland) Order 2005 that regulates the use of pesticides and herbicides for the control and eradication of NNI species.
  • The Water Environment and Water Services Scotland Act 2003 that implements the Water Framework Directive EC/2000 and provides for the protection of the water environment. It provides the basis for the River Basin District planning process coordinated by SEPA that has identified non native invasive species as a significant issue and whose presence will be a factor in determining waterbody status.
  • Section 179 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 that empowers local authorities to serve notice requiring an occupier to deal with any land whose condition is adversely affecting the amenity of the other land in their area.
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 and associated regulations define Japanese Knotweed and Giant Hogweed contaminated soil or plant material as controlled waste and make provisions for their treatment and disposal.
  • The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 define the licensing requirements which include “waste relevant objectives”. These require that waste is recovered or disposed of “without endangering human health and without using processes or methods which could harm the environment”.

The principle legislation for the control of fish diseases are:

  • The Aquaculture & Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 that regulates against the unauthorised introduction of fish to inland waters and for the control of Gyrodactylus salarisincluding the designation and treatment of infected areas, clearance of fish farms and the creation of barriers to prevent fish movement.
  • The Fish Health Regulations 1997 (SI 1997 No 1881)control the movement of live molluscs and live fish their eggs and gametes as well as certain dead into the UK from elsewhere in the EU.
  • The Diseases of Fish (Control) Regulations 1994 (SI 1994 No 1447)implement the disease control measures which are required where suspicion and/or confirmation of designated fish diseases occur. These diseases have severe economic consequences (for farmed and wild fish stocks) were they to occur.
  • Diseases of Fish Act 1937 (as amended) introduced the requirement to notify the Government of the suspicion of the presence of certain diseases known as notifiable diseases. In Scotland the Fisheries Research Services (FRS) acts on behalf of the Government in this respect.

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