asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the wildlife inspectorate.
I informed the House on 12 December that there had been allegations against a member of the wildlife inspectorate. With the full co-operation of my Department, the allegations were investigated by the police who concluded that on the evidence available no action should be taken. However, all complaints that departmental business is not conducted properly are taken seriously and the directorate of establishments is therefore carrying out a review of the adequacy of the Department's existing procedures.The work of the inspectorate is primarily to inspect the premises of keepers and breeders of protected birds: this is part of the bird registration system established by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and regulations made under it. The Department also assists the Police and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise in their enforcement of the above legislation. The work has greatly increased, as we play our full part in wildlife protection and in fulfilling our obligations under the convention on international trade in endangered species. I have therefore called for a thorough review of the management and structure of the inspectorate to be carried out during the summer.