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Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds

Volume 172: debated on Thursday 17 May 1990

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14.

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to discuss matters within its responsibilities.

The Government have commissioned extensive research—[Interruption.] I am sorry—I should be answering question No. 14. My noble Friend the Minister of State, Baroness Trumpington, met the RSPB on 14 May 1990.

When the Minister next meets the director of the RSPB, will he discuss with him the wholesale slaughter of wild birds on the hillsides of mid-Glamorgan as a result of fires sweeping across that area, usually deliberately started by teenagers? There have been at least 1,400 such fires in the past two months. They are endangering people living in the valleys, who are left unattended by fire engines which are stuck up on the mountain dealing with the fires. Will the Minister discuss that and the effect that it is having on wildlife in the area?

I can give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that he seeks. The whole House will deplore anyone deliberately starting fires—whether in urban, rural or hillside areas—endangering, I presume, not only wildlife but human life. We at the Ministry will use our best endeavours to draw the problem to the attention of all concerned and hope that it will be stamped out as soon as possible.