British Ecological Society gives evidence to Environmental Audit Committee

POL_Helen Bayliss

Helen Bayliss, secretary of the BES invasive species special interest group (SIG) gave evidence to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s invasive species inquiry yesterday afternoon. Chaired by Joan Walley MP, the Committee questioned a panel of five expert witnesses on invasive species. Dr Helen Roy, secretary of the BES’s newest SIG, citizen science, was representing the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Dr Richard Shaw, CABI, Dr Mark Spencer, Natural History Museum, and Carrie Hume, Wildlife and Countryside Link were also part of the panel.


The Committee’s inquiry is focusing on the drivers behind the rising number of invasive species, the harm they cause, the adequacy of understanding and data on invasive species, and the adequacy of the proposals put forward by the European Commission for EU-wide legislation and its relevance to the UK.

Questions from Zac Goldsmith MP focused on the biggest drivers of the rising number of invasive species, and the likely pathways by which species might enter the UK. In addition, the panel outlined the effects that climate change might have on the entrance and impact of invasive species. The rapid movement of species and the effects of human assisted movement were highlighted by the witnesses to Neil Carmichael MP and Mark Lazarowicz MP. Questions from other members of the Committee focused on the proposals put forward by the European Commission for invasive species regulation and the role that horizon scanning exercises can play in predicting future threats to the UK.

The inquiry will continue into February, with yesterday’s session forming the first of three oral evidence hearings. A recording of the session is available on