Of the species studied, rabbits inflict the highest annual cost to the economy, £263million.

Also included in the research was a case study of the exponential increase of the cost of grey squirrel control.

Environment minister, Richard Benyon, said: “Invasive nonnative species have a significant impact on the British economy and damage our own wildlife. It becomes increasingly difficult and costly to control them as they become more established. Taking early action may seem expensive, but this report shows that it is the most effective approach.”