Invasive Species

Tackling Invasive Species

Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) are species that have been introduced (often by humans both intentionally or accidentally) to areas outside their normal geographic range.  INNS rank only second to habitat destruction as the biggest threat to biodiversity; they can alter local ecology, decrease biodiversity, spread disease and parasites, clog waterways and, in the case of Giant hogweed, even cause physical harm to humans. They cost the UK approximately £2bn per year. 

We are lead partners in the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum which aims to provide a joined-up approach to tackle the issue of invasive species in our region. The forum was set up in 2012 with the overall objective of bringing together all those working to manage the problem. We work with these organisations and individuals (including dedicated volunteers) to record and map the presence of invasive species and the management being undertaken. Using this information, and with the support of our partners and volunteers, we are creating a long term, sustainable way of working for tackling those found along our waterways.

For more detailed information and ID guides to invasive species, please visit the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum website. 

Key Aims

As part of the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum, we are developing a sustainable programme to tackle the INNS problem in Yorkshire. The forum develops and implements strategic control, treatment and management plans, by working in partnership with organisations and individuals across the region who are fighting to control INNS. 

Alongside this, we are helping to help 'stop the spread' by promoting good practices to anyone and everyone. In particular, we work to promote the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat 'Check Clean Dry' campaign, encouraging people who have been near INNS to check their equipment and clothing, clean it and leave it out to dry, 

What we are doing

The main work of the forum involves monitoring and surveying the distribution of INNS. As part of the forum we work with volunteers to carry out surveys and treatment. We have developed an online web-based tool called INNS Mapper which can be used to report INNS in Yorkshire, as well as allowing you to see the spread. 

We also carry out INNS treatment in 'prioirity catchments' around Yorkshire. This involves working closely with landowners, raising awareness of the environmental and legal issues of owning land with INNS and work with them to develop  management plans of INNS on their land. We also deliver treatment by deploying a trained team to provide a cost effective solution. 

How you can help

We have a number of  citizen science roles to help us map INNS across the region – with support and training. We also offer support to anyone wishing to organise local Himalayan Balsam removal days. Please email for more information.


Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water

Further information on INNS mapper

The INNS mapper has been developed to support the work of the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum. This database collates INNS data from across Yorkshire, additional surveys and treatment work. It enables the forum to understand the extent of the problem, identify hotspots and measure control method success, creating and develop a long-term strategy for tackling invasive plant species.