LONDON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- To protect vulnerable habitats, Britain has announced a ban on the sale of five invasive aquatic plant species said to cost the country billions each year.
Efforts to deal with the impacts of invasive aquatic plants costs the country $2.7 billion annually, the BBC reported Tuesday.
Beginning April 2014, water fern, parrot's feather, floating pennywort, water primrose and Australian swamp stonecrop will be banned from sale, officials said.
"Tough laws to curb the sale of these plants could save the country millions of pounds as well as protecting wildlife such as fish and native plants," Environment Minister Richard Benyon said.
"But as well as saving money and protecting wildlife the ban will also help maintain access to rivers and lakes for anglers and watersport fans."
The plants listed in the ban have long been sold and planted in garden ponds but have escaped into the wild, overwhelming native species, officials said.
The move marks the first time non-native plants have been banned from sale in England, a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.