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Rats: Henderson Island

Environment Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 13th June 2011.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the rat infestation on Henderson Island.

Photo of Richard Benyon Richard Benyon The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

DEFRA has made no assessment of the rat infestation on Henderson Island.

However, two studies on rat eradication on Henderson Island, funded through the Overseas Territories Environment Programme (OTEP), were completed in 2008 and 2009. Since then an OTEP-funded detailed operational plan for rat eradication was prepared as part of a project managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

At the tenth Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, last October, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend Mrs Spelman, was pleased to announce that DEFRA would be committing £200,000 towards an RSPB initiative to support the endangered Henderson petrel, also safeguarding populations of other important, threatened bird species and restoring a globally-significant island ecosystem on Henderson Island.

This brings the total funding that Her Majesty's Government have so far contributed towards the eradication of rats on Henderson Island to over £400,000.

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