Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019


This order will enforce the Invasive Alien Species Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 in Northern Ireland. This Order aims to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of invasive alien species through the application of offences, enforcement powers and permit and licence regimes for activities involving invasive alien species



The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019 comes into force on 1 December 2019.

What is being introduced?

The 2019 order will enforce the Invasive Alien Species Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 in Northern Ireland. This Regulation aims to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of invasive alien species.

Offences and Penalties

Criminal offences are introduced for breaches of the Invasive Alien Species Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014, including:

  • Keeping, placing on the market, using or exchanging invasive alien species;
  • Transporting invasive alien species into or out of Northern Ireland or any place in Great Britain;
  • Breeding or permitting invasive alien species to reproduce, grow or cultivate; and
  • Releasing invasive alien species into the environment.

It is also an offence to make:

  • false statements;
  • altering, or not meeting, the conditions of permits and licences concerning invasive alien species;
  • attempts to commit offences;
  • obstruction; and
  • offences for companies and partnerships.

If found guilty of an offence a person may be liable to imprisonment of up to 2 years, or a fine.


Transfers enforcement powers from the EU Commission to Magistrates’ Courts. Enforcement officers and customs officials have the powers to enforce the Order which include:

  • stop and search powers;
  • powers of entry, including without a warrant at a reasonable time where there are grounds to suspect that a specimen is being kept on the premises;
  • powers to seize, examine and take samples; and
  • powers to recover costs associated with enforcement.

Live specimens of invasive species can be seized by Border Force officials.


Permits may be issued to import, keep, and breed of specimens (but not for sale or release as this is prohibited at all times) in the following cases:

  • Research;
  • Ex-situ conservation (outside the natural habitat); or
  • Production and use of products for the advancement of human health.

Permits can be revoked or suspended at any time where the relevant authority feels there is a risk of negative environmental impact, risk of escape, or spread.


Licenses may be issued for the following activities involving invasive alien species:

  • To implement eradication or management measures;
  • To commercially use invasive alien species as part of a management measure; or
  • Keeping invasive alien animal species in facilities until the end of its natural life.

Licences may be modified, suspended, or revoked by the regulator at any time.



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