Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 (‘the EU Regulation’) entered into force on 1 January 2015. The aim of this new regime is to prevent or manage the introduction, or spread, of invasive alien species across the European Union.
The EU Regulation imposes strict restrictions on a list of invasive alien species of Union concern (‘the Union list’), which are species whose adverse impact is such that they require concerted action at an EU level.
The EU Regulation requires Member States to lay down provisions setting out the penalties for offences committed contrary to the restrictions outlined at Article 7 of the EU Regulation whereby it will be an offence to intentionally import, keep, breed, transport, sell, use or exchange, permit to reproduce or release into the environment any species on the Union list.
A requirement of the EU Regulation is that the penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.
The level of penalties the Department is proposing to introduce will be defined using section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.