To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposal he has to prevent further erosion of the red squirrel population in north-east England. 
Measures to safeguard the red squirrel population include full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and a prohibition on the release of grey squirrels to restrict their spread. English Nature's species recovery programme, which aims to achieve long-term sustainable survival of endangered species, includes the red squirrel. The programme features the restocking of small populations.The Red Alert North-East partnership, which English Nature has part funded, is taking steps to improve status and general awareness of the red squirrel. They are also carrying out research into the sorts of conifer preferred by red squirrels.