Squirrels: Conservation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 10th April 2019.

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Photo of Trudy Harrison Trudy Harrison Conservative, Copeland

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to prevent the potential extinction of red squirrels in the UK.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

This is devolved matter and the below information relates to England only.

The Government is committed to protecting and expanding red squirrel populations and tackling the threats that grey squirrels pose to them. The Forestry Commission works with Natural England and other conservation organisations and projects to help protect red squirrel enclaves and to allow the populations to expand.

The Forestry Commission also undertakes a number of actions to protect red squirrels from the impact of grey squirrels as outlined in the grey squirrel action plan for England. These actions include Countryside Stewardship funding for landowners who choose to help protect red squirrels within designated reserves.

Defra, in partnership with the United Kingdom Squirrel Accord, has also provided funding for work by the Animal and Plant Health Agency for the development of a fertility control method for grey squirrels. This research continues to show promise as one potentially effective and humane method to control grey squirrel numbers in the longer term.

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