Public Sector: Defra plan to highlight dangerous plants

The Department for Food and Rural Affairs is on the hunt for an agency to raise awareness of the dangers of exotic plants.

A pitch process is currently under way and is being handled by the Central Office of Information.

The campaign will seek to educate people about the dangers of releasing non-native plant life into their ponds, as such species can overwhelm the local environment, kill off endemic plant life and threaten natural ecosystems.

For example, the water primrose Ludwigia, an aquatic plant that has been introduced from South America, can spread rapidly.

The very dense mats it forms can present a threat to many aquatic species, by depriving the submerged plants below of light and causing problems for fish. It also clogs waterways, thereby increasing the risk of flooding.

Many infestations result from people removing plants that have outgrown their ponds and dumping them in nearby waterways. Non-native invasive species cost the taxpayer £2bn a year.

The brief follows Defra's appointment of Threepipe in November to create a PR campaign that encourages consumers to reduce and reuse as well as recycle.

Threepipe won a four-way pitch organised by the COI.

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