To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking steps to control the number of grey squirrels; whether she is using technology to (a) assess and (b) control the numbers of grey squirrels; and whether she has had discussions with the Welsh Government on implementing a UK-wide strategy on the control of grey squirrels.
The management of grey squirrel populations is a devolved matter.
In England, Defra is committed to doing more to tackle the impact of grey squirrels by updating the Grey Squirrel Action Plan. The Grey Squirrel Management Action Plan for Wales and the Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels project include similar management objectives. A refreshed GB Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy was published this year, setting out the high-level vision and key actions for invasive species management in England, Scotland, and Wales. The Forestry Commission works informally with colleagues in Natural Resources Wales and Welsh government to facilitate a common approach where possible.
Defra contributes funding to innovative fertility control research led by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and the UK Squirrel Accord, a UK-wide partnership that includes the Welsh and Scottish governments as well as Defra. If successful, this novel management method will complement the actions set out at the level of individual governments, such as maintaining the grey squirrel eradication that partners have carried out on Anglesey.