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by the NFCC



Hazard Knowledge

Non-native species and exotic animal disease outbreaks can have serious environmental, ecological and economic impacts. Exotic animal disease will usually require specific control measures depending on the nature of the pathway.

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) publishes guidance on Environmental management. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) publishes guidance on Biodiversity. The Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) publishes guidance on Biodiversity. During emergencies, government scientific and technical decisions are supported by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

If invasive non-native (alien) species are transferred, they can transform ecosystems and threaten native species by outcompeting them, degrading habitats and spreading disease. This is usually because of a lack of predators of the invasive non-native species and can cause long-lasting environmental harm, such as profuse plant growth affecting oxygen levels in a body of water.

Fire and rescue service activity can present a risk of cross-contamination of diseases or invasive non-native species. Environmental harm can be caused by unintentionally transferring species or transmitting diseases along pathways. Fire and rescue services can affect biosecurity by using water from one open water source and allowing it to run off into another, or by transferring materials on vehicles or equipment, including personal protective equipment (PPE), from one incident site to another.

For more information refer to Foundation for environmental protection - Biosecurity and non-native species.