To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to support the growth of the red squirrel population.
The Government is committed to protecting and expanding red squirrel populations and tackling the threats that grey squirrels pose to them.
Since December 2014 the Forestry Commission has been undertaking a number of actions to protect red squirrels from the impact of grey squirrels resulting from an updated grey squirrel action plan for England. These have included measures to control grey squirrels in red squirrel areas, through forestry options under Countryside Stewardship and the previous English Woodland Grant Scheme.
Additionally, the Government participates in and supports Red Squirrels Northern England, a partnership project between the Red Squirrel Survival Trust, Natural England, the Forestry Commission and the Wildlife Trusts, which is helping to protect and expand the biggest population of red squirrels left in England.
We are also working together with a range of stakeholders under the UK Squirrel Accord, which aims to promote partnership working to increase public awareness and support for action to protect red squirrels and woodlands from grey squirrels.