Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Questions (33)

Joan Burton

Question:

33. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if her attention has been drawn to the number of invasive plants, animals and insects in the ecosystem here; her plans to assess the ecological risks of invasive species; her plans to assess the estimated economic costs of their damage and control; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45452/19]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

My Department is responsible for the implementation of the Wildlife Acts and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 477/2011), both of which prohibit the spreading of invasive species.

There is significant work being carried out by my Department in this area in conjunction with a range of agencies, including by a number of local authorities. The National Parks and Wildlife Service of my Department have prepared Management Plans for invasive species of EU concern and Priority Pathway Action Plans are also being developed to address the major routes of entry of invasive species into Ireland. My Department continues to work closely with colleagues in the UK and across the EU to manage the risks associated with Invasive Alien Species.

My Department has also worked closely over the years with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to fund and manage the Invasive Species Ireland Project. Information on general management approaches to invasive plant species is available from the Invasive Species Ireland website: invasivespeciesireland.com (http://invasivespeciesireland.com/toolkit/invasive-plant-management/)

In addition, the Management of Invasive Alien Plant Species (IAPS), launched in 2016 and led by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, is a €5.5 million project aimed at managing invasive knotweed and other non-native invasive plant species on the national road network and its interactions with regional roads. The project involves collaboration with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS).

In 2018 my Department piloted a targeted grant scheme for local authorities to assist with the implementation of actions contained in the National Biodiversity Action Plan. This scheme included a funding stream to specifically target invasive alien species. The scheme was rolled out again in 2019 with increased funding and grants have been awarded to a range of projects across the 28 Local Authorities who applied.

While my Department does not collect data from local authorities on the incidence of specific invasive species in their areas, information on the distribution of invasive species in Ireland is available on the invasive species section of the National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC) website at http://maps.biodiversityireland.ie.