Water hyacinth will be returning to GB ponds after significant campaigning by OATA but not in time for this pond season.

The good news comes as a result of a recent review from the Invasive Non-Native Species team in Defra which has published its list of flora and fauna which will be ‘de-listed’ as a species of ‘special concern’, making them eventually available to sell again.

However, the plants remain illegal until an official change in the statute books, which might not come for some time.

“This is very good news about water hyacinth because we have long campaigned to get this plant removed from the list of special concern,” said OATA Chief executive Dominic Whitmee.

“We have demonstrated it is not an invasive risk within the UK because it cannot survive our winters and it’s good to see that Defra has listened to the evidence we put forward during the review process.

“Nevertheless, we remind the industry water hyacinth remains illegal to sell until the law has been changed so it’s unlikely this plant will return to garden ponds anytime soon.

“And of course pond season is always an excellent time to talk to customers about the Be Plant Wise campaign which aims to educate gardeners and pond owners about how to stop the spread of garden and aquatic plants beyond the garden boundary.”

The review has also identified a number of species which have been highlighted as potentially invasive. They are currently undergoing a risk assessment process and this could lead to them becoming illegal to sell. The species include the Chinese mystery snail (Bellamya chinensis), Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) and the Chinese pond mussel (Sinanodonta woodiana).

“We will now look at all the other species being proposed for listing as invasive and would welcome feedback from members on whether they sell any of these species. It is very welcome that Defra has a proper risk assessment process in place to examine the evidence. This is a detailed process and it looks like it could take as long as two years.”

Also delisted is the striped eel catfish (Plotosus lineatus) although it also remains illegal until the change in the law.

Find more about what’s planned here.