Apply for a licence to manage an invasive alien species

Management of invasive alien species

If you’re engaging in the management of a widely spread invasive alien species, you may need a licence to undertake certain activities.

The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 makes it an offence to do any of the following with animals or plants listed as invasive alien species of special concern under EU regulations:

  • import
  • keep
  • breed
  • transport (except transporting for eradication)
  • use or exchange
  • place on the market
  • grow, cultivate or permit to reproduce
  • release into the environment

You can obtain a management measure licence from us to carry out certain activities for the purposes of eradication, control or containment of a population of widely spread species of special concern.

For example, we may issue a licence authorising the growing of listed plants in the environment as part of a monitored and controlled study aimed at determining the best methods for controlling that species as part of a management measure. 

You may also be able to obtain a licence for the keeping and transport of widely spread plant species for the purposes of public education.

Find guidance on the legislation for animals of special concern on the website.

Find guidance on the legislation for plants of special concern on the website.

Widely spread species

Of the 66 species identified as being of concern, the following 14 are classified as being widely spread in Wales:


  • Nuttall’s waterweed (Elodea nuttallii)
  • Chilean rhubarb (Gunnera tinctoria)
  • Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum)
  • Floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides)
  • Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera)
  • Curly waterweed (Lagarosiphon major)
  • American skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus)
  • Parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum)


  • Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)
  • Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
  • Muntjac deer (Muntiacus reevesi)
  • Signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus)
  • Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis)
  • all subspecies of (Trachemys scripta) otherwise known as “slider terrapins”

The lists of animal and plant species of special concern can be found on the website. 

General management measures

A licence will not be needed for general management measures involving the eradication of widely spread species unless the eradication involves restricted activities such as keeping or growing etc.  For example, a licence would not be required for the removal of Himalayan balsam by groups or individuals within a catchment or at local scale.

Where the eradication involves transport of a listed widely spread species, a licence for transport is not required if it is being transported for the purposes of eradication.

Any eradication actions carried out by individuals or groups would be expected to be carried out in a biosecure and responsible way and to follow best practice. 

Find guidance on the legislation for animals of special concern on the website.

Find guidance on the legislation for plants of special concern on the website.

Licences for Signal crayfish

Trapping authorisations for Signal crayfish must be obtained from NRW before a management measure licence can be issued. Authorisation will only be given for the purposes of conservation, scientific, or fisheries management. 

See NRW’s Fishing with Nets and Traps webpage for how to apply for a trapping authorisation for Signal crayfish.


No licences will be issued permitting the release of listed animals held for rehabilitation purposes. All precautions must be taken to hold animals securely and prevent them from breeding or escaping into the wild.  We will only consider new applications to release listed species in exceptional circumstances. 

Apply for a licence

Download and complete the management measure licence application form.

The application must be accompanied by a detailed method statement. Download a method statement template.

If you have any questions about licences for listed species, please contact us on

or telephone 0300 065 3000.

Return the completed forms by email or to:

Species Licensing,
Natural Resources Wales,
Maes y Ffynnon,
LL57 2DW

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