Non-native plants to be banned from sale

A RAFT of plants are to be banned from sale in garden centres later this year as the Department of the Environment moves to curb the damage inflicted on Irish wildlife by the importation of non-native species.

It is understood it will be an offence to possess the listed species for “the purpose of sale or dispersal or to transfer the species from one place to another within the country”.

Householders who have such species will be advised how to dispose of them.

Water plants pose a particular threat to biodiversity with species such as the African or curly-leaved pondweed wiping out native weed in Lough Corrib. The weed, and the insects who feed on it, attract the lake’s renowned brown trout.

According to the Department, the ban is being introduced to meet Ireland’s obligations under the EU Habitats Directive and will form part of the Birds and Habitats Regulations that are to be made law later this year.

Among other species likely to appear on the list are Water fern (Azolla filiculoides), New Zealand pygmyweed (Crassula helmsii), Nuttall’s pondweed (Elodea nuttallii), Parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) and Fringed water lily (Nymphoides peltata),

A public consultation process will also be in place.

Senior research officer with the Central Fisheries Board, Dr Joe Caffrey, said: “Without the appropriate regulations a great number of our habitats and species will be under threat.”

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