WaREN survey feedback

WaREN survey feedback

Jon Hawkins, Surrey Hills Photography

The Wales Resilient Ecological Network (WaREN) project is excited to feedback the results of our survey, where we asked stakeholder groups throughout Wales how they tackle invasive species and what the current barriers to success are.

In the winter of 2020/2021 stakeholders including Local Action Groups (LAGs) from across Wales took part in a survey about their invasive species work. Now we share a summary of the findings, and how the answers are shaping the Wales Resilient Ecological Network (WaREN) project. You can also watch our webinar below to learn more. Contact us to join our Network or if you are involved in invasive species work in Wales!

A total of 87 participated in the survey conducted by colleagues from the North Wales Wildlife Trust and the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Below is a summary of the results.

How does your group/local authority tackle invasive species?

  • 45 species, taxa or 'groups of concern' are managed in Wales: 23 terrestrial, 15 freshwater and 9 marine species (shown below).
  • Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Japanese knotweed (Reynoutria japonica) are managed by more stakeholders than any other invasive species reported.
  • 10 different control measures are used to manage invasive species, mainly chemical and mechanical control. 
Species, taxa or ‘groups of concern’ managed by stakeholders (Local Action Groups and local authorities) in Wales, as identified by the WaREN I survey.

Species, taxa or ‘groups of concern’ managed by stakeholders (Local Action Groups and local authorities) in Wales, as identified by the WaREN I survey (©WaREN).

What are the main gaps and barriers?


Lack of knowledge in invasive species identification, effective control measures, and amongst contactors. This can have a knock-on effect to recording and managing invasive species and tends to arise as advice is not always easy to find or access, and can be contradictory from source to source.

Communication and support

Lack of communication and support between experts, decision makers, and contractors. Many stakeholders are not sharing their data with regional or national databases, limiting our understanding of invasive species spread and management.

Over half of the local action groups surveyed had not shared their data


Although stakeholders were mostly aware of Welsh Government policy, 52% reported that it was either unfit for purpose or that they could not find it online.

Not enough legal support or support from higher decision-makers. This was one of the main reasons why 40% of local authorities did not have an invasive species strategy.

A third of local action groups also reported that they wanted more support



Funding is also a barrier as the impacts of invasive species are not typically recognised in funding streams. Projects that are funded are typically limited to a short timescale. This can be very problematic as efforts to tackle invasive species often require long term perspectives, for example, it can take 3-4 years of control to successful eradicate Himalayan balsam.

River bank completely covered in Himalayan balsam

River bank completely covered in Himalayan balsam © GBINNS

What are the main opportunities?

The survey also identified a lot of opportunities for managing invasive species. For example, Local Action Groups across Wales applied for between £300-£1.5 million worth of funding, and some avenues offer five or more years of funding presenting a more realistic timescale for invasive species management.

95% of groups were interested in any training that WaREN could provide


The majority of stakeholders were interested in WaREN training and knew of, or had previously engaged with, other stakeholders. This communication and collaboration is very promising, and should help with adopting a source-to-sea approach to tackling invasive species throughout Wales.

How will WaREN II address these Gaps, Barriers, and Opportunities?

We are now addressing these Gaps, Barriers and Opportunities by delivering the WaREN II project across Wales, you can find out more on our webpage. This is an ambitious project, but some of our objective include:

  • Online toolkit: ID guides, best practice management, biosecurity and legislation information.
  • Online portal: user friendly interface to report invasive species sightings and management actions.
  • Invasive Species Campaign in 2022: to raise awareness of the issues of invasive species across Wales
  • Support the formation of, and collaboration between, Local Action Groups throughout Wales.     

You can find out more about the WaREN I stakeholder survey results in our downloadable report and if you are involved in invasive species work in Wales, please contact us!

The Wales Resilient Ecological Network (WaREN) stakeholder feedback webinar. ©WaREN