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21 January 21

Help prevent the introduction and spread of Invasive Non-Native Species

Affinity Water has launched a new scheme calling on environmental enthusiasts and interested groups to help stop the spread of Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) within the Affinity Water supply area.

Called INNS OUT the scheme is designed to support partnership projects that work towards preventing the introduction and spread of INNS especially where they have a detrimental impact on waterbodies or environmentally designated sites.

Invasive Non-Native Species are species that have been introduced by people either deliberately or accidentally, and are having a negative impact on the economy, wildlife and or habitats. INNS threaten native species by spreading harmful diseases, out-competing for resources, or damaging a natural ecosystem.

The introduction of invasive non-native species is the second biggest threat to global biodiversity after habitat loss. Introduced species can out-compete native wildlife for resources like food and breeding sites. An example is Japanese knotweed, which is an introduced plant to the UK and which can form dense stands that can prevent native plants from growing. This can change the habitat structure of an area, making it unsuitable for the other organisms that live there. In terms of wildlife, introducing new predators into an area can have devastating effects on native species and ecosystems.

Kevin Barton, Head of External Communications said: “We are committed to protecting and enhancing the habitats of native wildlife on our sites and across our supply area.

“As part of this commitment, we have set up the INNS Out scheme to support projects which prevent the introduction or spread of non-native invasive species that impact waterbodies or threaten environmentally sensitive habitats.”

“We believe a joint approach to working with other organisations to combine resources and expertise will be key to improving our local environment for everyone. We would love to hear from environmentalists, local organisations, community groups or individuals from the public, private, voluntary and education sectors that are involved in tackling non-native invasive species. If they are, then the INNS Out scheme may be able to help them.”

Affinity Water will support projects that are asking for funding up to £2,500, or volunteer support up to 250 hours to successful applicants.

The deadline for the applications is 5pm on the 31st January 2021. More information and the application form can be found on the Affinity Water website.

(volunteers at work on an INNS Out scheme)

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