New research by BBC Countryfile has found that that it costs £26 per person, per year to defend the UK from invasive foreign species of plants and wildlife.
After humans, foreign invasive species are the biggest cause of native bio-diversity loss in the world. Staggering figures show that Japanese Knotweed alone costs the British economy £165m per year, whilst the total amount reaches £1.7bn annually.
The research highlights how grey squirrels, American crayfish, Zebra Mussels and mink are key examples of how an alien species can have a devastating effect on native wildlife and plants.
Zebra Mussels, originally from Russia, have so infested Rutland Water, Leicestershire, that Anglian Water have had to install special reservoir filters, at a cost of £0.5m to sift them out, as they have spread so quickly. A single individual can produce a million offspring a year, and have led to a marked decline in native mussel species.