To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what measures are currently being proposed by the European Community for the protection of the species and habitat of lepus timidus; how he has responded to such measures; and whether he proposes any relevant changes to United Kingdon legislation.
The lepus timidus is one of the species listed on annex III of the European Commission's proposal for a directive on the protection of natural and semi-natural habitats and of fauna and flora. Under the draft directive, any exploitation of lepus timidus would therefore be subject to a management plan. Negotiations on the directive in Brussels are currently stalled, but when they resume we expect to press the Commission to clarify what is expected of member states under this provision. It is therefore premature to consider whether changes to United Kingdom legislation would be appropriate.