RAPID LIFE - RAPID LIFE - holistic management of Invasive Alien Species in freshwater aquatic, riparian and coastal ecosystems

LIFE16 NAT/UK/000582

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Contact details:

Contact person: Alexia FISH
Tel: 442080262530
Email: alexia.fish@apha.gov.uk

Project description:


Globally, invasive alien species (IAS) are considered to be one of the most significant causes of biodiversity loss, second only to habitat destruction. Target 5 (combat invasive alien species) of the EU Biodiversity Strategy recognises the severe impact that IAS have on biodiversity within Europe and the need for them to be managed more effectively. They represent a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing damage worth billions of euros to the European economy every year. The Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species entered into force on 1 January 2015. It provides for a set of measures to be taken across the EU in relation to invasive alien species included on a list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern.


RAPID (Reducing and Preventing IAS Dispersal) LIFE will deliver a package of measures to reduce the impact and spread of IAS in freshwater aquatic, riparian and coastal environments across England. It will help to conserve species protected under the Birds and Habitats directives whilst assisting in compliance with the EU Regulation on IAS, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the Water Framework Directive. The conservation status of Natura 2000 sites will also be enhanced and protected.

Specific project objectives are to:

  • Establish a regionally-based framework across England to deliver more effective IAS management, facilitating the production of regional IAS management plans;
  • Prevent the introduction of new IAS to the project’s target environments by increasing biosecurity awareness amongst target audiences, through a coordinated programme of engagement at England-wide and regional levels;
  • Increase awareness and efficacy of UK-level early warning and rapid response systems within England and establish localised rapid response protocols;
  • Eradicate and control established IAS in high-priority areas whilst demonstrating strategic and best practice approaches; and
  • Disseminate the exemplar approach throughout European and international networks.
  • Expected results: RAPID LIFE will enhance management of IAS in target environments across England. It will give a strategic underpinning to IAS management at a local level and increase the efficacy of biosecurity campaigns. The conservation actions delivered will prevent the introduction of novel IAS, facilitate rapid responses to new IAS and better manage widespread IAS. RAPID LIFE’s programme will benefit some of the Natura 2000 sites identified through the EU LIFE+ IPENS (LIFE11 NAT/UK/000384) project as having IAS related threats or issues. RAPID LIFE will also help to protect the 14 native species for which IAS were identified as a pressure and/or threat as part of the UK’s third Habitats Directive reporting (2013).

    Specific expected results are:

  • 12.5% increase in the number of white -clawed crayfish within the South West region;
  • 58.5% reduction in the distribution of Himalayan balsam in the Bristol Avon and River Wensum catchments;
  • 55% reduction in the distribution of Japanese knotweed in the Bristol Avon and River Wensum catchments; and
  • 75% reduction of signal crayfish within the South West region.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Invasive species
Risk management - Risk assessment and monitoring


aquatic ecosystem‚  monitoring‚  biodiversity‚  preventive measure‚  early warning system

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien ...
  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Animal and Plant Health Agency
Type of organisation Public enterprise
Description The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) is the lead government agency in England for biosecurity, including issues related to invasive alien species (IAS). It also houses the British Non-native Species Secretariat which coordinates activities to manage IAS across Great Britain. APHA provides research, services and advice to the UK government on IAS management. In particular, it has experience in wildlife population and disease modelling, contingency planning and practical management of invasive invertebrates. APHA’s National Wildlife Management Centre has previously been involved in two LIFE projects focused on IAS management. The first, led by Scottish Natural Heritage, aimed to eradicate American mink from the Western Isles of Scotland. APHA was the lead partner for the second project, which aimed to eradicate the ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) from Great Britain.
Partners Natural England, United Kingdom Bristol Clifton West of England Zoological Society, United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE16 NAT/UK/000582
Duration 01-JUL-2017 to 31-DEC -2020
Total budget 1,136,663.00 €
EU contribution 681,698.00 €
Project location North(United Kingdom) Yorkshire and Humberside(United Kingdom) East Midlands(United Kingdom) East Anglia(United Kingdom) South East (UK)(United Kingdom) South West (UK)(United Kingdom) West Midlands(United Kingdom) North West (UK)(United Kingdom)


Read more:

Leaflet "Rapid: Holistic, innovative management of Invasiv ...
Newsletter "RAPID: Reducing and Preventing Invasive Alien Spe ...
Newsletter "Rapid: Reducing and Preventing Invasive Alien Spe ...
Project web site Project's website
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: New Zealand Pygmyweed ( ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Pacific oyster (Crassos ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good Practice management: American Mink (Neovison ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: American Skunk Cabbage ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Carpet Sea Squirt (Dide ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Japanese Knotweed (Fall ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Himalayan Balsam (Impat ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Giant Hogweed (Heracleu ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Curly Waterweed (Lagaro ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Good practice management: Floating Pennywort (Hyd ...
Slides Presentation "Vertebrates: Ecology and Impacts" (1.44 MB)
Slides Presentation "Shrimps, Bivalves and Fish: ID and Impacts" (2.16 ...
Slides Presentation "Freshwater invasive non-native species: Impacts o ...
Slides Presentation "Freshwater Invasive Non-Native Species: Impacts o ...
Slides Presentation "Aquatic Plants: ID and Impacts" (1.78 MB)
Video link "Creating a Biosercurity Plan" [EN - 3'39]


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