Foxes: Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with Natural England on the provision of information on fox numbers in each site of special scientific interest; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

I have been well informed of the discussions that my officials are having with Natural England (NE) on this issue. NE’s licencing process for badger control includes a detailed assessment of effects on protected wildlife sites such as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs). In 2018, NE’s successful defence of judicial review proceedings against these assessments included a commitment to review its procedures on and within 2km of SSSIs, where they support bird species which may be vulnerable to a potential increase in fox predation as a result of a reduction in badger numbers. NE will collect information in order to make a judgement on whether sufficient fox control is taking place to avoid this potential risk.

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