Regulators toughen act on aliens

Invasive non-native species cost the UK £1.8bn every year, and the battle to keep them at bay is intensifying. Rachel Salvidge looks at what is being done to protect Britain from these harmful aliens

The grey squirrel is already widespread in the UK. Photograph: William N BeckonKiller shrimps, quagga mussels and carpet sea squirts. They may sound like monsters from a 1950s B movie, but their presence is a very real and growing threat to the UK’s biodiversity.

These are just three of nearly 2,000 non-native species (NNS) established in the UK today. Around 1,800 are terrestrial, with smaller numbers infiltrating the marine and freshwater environment. And the numbers are growing. According to DEFRA, a further 10-12 non-native species arrive on our shores every year.

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