Committee assess invasive species threat Cambridge University outreach event

07 June 2019

This free public event will see MPs question two panels on the issue. On the first, NGOs, a polar research institute and the Government of one of the UK’s Overseas Territories where the eradication of invasive species has taken place. The second panel covers biosecurity and trade and hears from a leading academic from St. Catharine’s along with representatives from trade, industry and border authorities on how the risks of the invasive species arriving in the UK can be managed.

Tuesday 11 June 2019, St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge

At 10.15

  • Introduction from Professor William Sutherland, Fellow of St Catharine's College and Chair of the Committee, Mary Creagh MP


At 10.30

  • Catherine Wensink, Executive Director, UK Overseas Territories Forum
  • Dr Mark Belchier, Director of Fisheries and Environment, Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands
  • Dr Kevin Hughes, British Antarctic Survey
  • Jonathan Hall, Head of Overseas Territories, RSPB

At 11.30

  • Dr David Aldridge, Senior Lecturer in Aquatic Ecology and Fellow, St Catharine's College, Cambridge
  • Rob Quest, Assistant Director (Animal Health and Welfare), City of London Corporation
  • Dr Tracey King, Assistant Chief Executive, Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association
  • Wayne Grills, Chief Executive, British Association of Landscape Industries

The session will be streamed live via YouTube and available on demand via Parliament TV. Any members of the public wishing to attend must have registered online.


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.

Further information

Image: CCo

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