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Volume 174: debated on Thursday 14 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will commission a study into the effects of prolonged drought on bird life that requires a diet of freshwater fish; and what information he has on the numbers of herons observed fishing in the sea along the south coast.

There is no evidence that the risk to birds from the effects of drought is so significant as to justify commissioning a study. Populations of herons and other waterways birds are monitored annually. I have no information about the extent to which herons fish in the sea, but I understand that it is not unusual.