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South West Water calls for funding to tackle invasives

South West Water is calling on the new chair of the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) to help tackle the problem of invasive non-native species.

Philip Dunne MP was appointed chair of the committee following the recent General Election.

Last year, under its former chair Mary Creagh MP, the EAC recommended that the Government’s funding to tackle invasive non-native species should be significantly increased.

An EAC Invasive species report, released last October, recommended that funding be increased to at least £3 million a year.

South West Water was invited to be interviewed as part of the EAC’s inquiry into the Government’s progress since its predecessor committee’s 2014 report.

As part of the inquiry, in April 2019 the EAC held four public evidence sessions, hearing from 27 witnesses including academics, non-governmental organisations, trade associations and Government agencies.

The water industry was represented by South West Water’s biosecurity and invasives manager, Kate Hills. In 2017 Kate became the first dedicated invasive non-native species (INNS) ecologist to be appointed by a UK water company.

She said: “It is recognised that INNS are a particular cause of concern for the water industry and South West Water is proud to be a leader in promoting biosecurity and partnership working.

“We have written to Mr Dunne asking him to continue the EAC’s good work to date and follow up on the excellent recommendations made in the report. The GB Non-native Species Secretariat are a small team and punch above their weight but improved funding is needed to reduce the risks posed by invasives in Britain.

“We are one of eight water companies working closely with the GB Non-native Species Secretariat to improve understanding of INNS, with a particular drive to improve biosecurity measures. The report stated the importance of increasing awareness and we played a key role in revamping the Check, Clean, Dry biosecurity campaign.

South West Water is one of only two water companies to have a target for tackling INNS in its new five-year plan starting in April 2020, including an ambitious programme to install 12 biosecurity facilities at priority sites.

Author: Alec Peachey,
Topic: Sustainability & social value
Tags: water companies , water , South West Water

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