Readers may be aware that EU Regulation 1143/2014 on Invasive Non-Native Species was due to be implemented within UK legislation via a Statutory Order from end of March 2019.
However, BDS now understand that the Coming Into Force Date for the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 will now be 1 October 2019, and that Natural England licences will be extended to remain valid until this date pending further consultation.
Further details will be published once known.
About the Order
The Order relates only to species on the EU’s list of Species of Concern and thus for our purposes relates solely to Chinese muntjac Muntiacus reevesi. The Order will only apply to England and Wales and in essence, brings legislation here in line with that already in effect in other parts of the UK.
As noted in Peter Green’s article in the Winter issue of ‘Deer’: it is already illegal to release muntjac in areas outside their current distributional range with the current exemption that they may be released under licence within 1 km of where they were found. This exemption will be removed.
It is our understanding, from an ongoing correspondence with Defra, that:
- Although Chinese water deer and sika are included in the UK list of Invasive Non-Native Species, the new Order will simply relate to those on the European Union’s list of species of Union concern (49 species, including plant species), thus in relation to non-native species of deer will apply only to muntjac.
- This new Order relates in England and Wales, and to any importation and exportation of listed species into the UK, and only to muntjac deer.
- The Order will revoke WCA release license for this species in England and Wales.
- Furthermore, unless it can be shown that further release activity is aimed at “eradication, population control or containment” under a management measure (set out in article 19 of the EU regulation), then under the 2019 Order it will not be possible to obtain a release licence in future as any such licence must be aimed towards one of those ends.
- The keeping of this species once taken in from the wild (say to a rescue centre) could potentially receive a licence, as this could be seen to constitute the “containment” requirement of a management measure for a widespread species; however, those animals will not be able to be released subsequent to rehabilitation.
- Zoos that have had animals prior to their coming onto the EU list in 2014, will be able to treat those animals as companion animals, which means they can be kept till the end of their natural life, and transported under containment, but they should not be bred. Companion animals can be rehomed if needed to other zoos.
- The further sale of muntjac is not allowed, and the time in which that would be possible for commercial owners to have sold their stock (12 months after their inclusion on the list in 2014) has now passed.