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Birds: Conservation

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the costs of operating the Bird Registration Scheme under section 7 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 were in the most recent period for which figures are available; and what proportion of these costs are paid by bird keepers. (124672)

The cost of running the Bird Registration Scheme for 2005-06 was £304,828. 23.7 per cent. (£72,208) of this was recovered in fees from keepers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what conclusions were drawn from (a) the Review of Bird Registration and CITES licensing fees in 1999 and (b) the review of charges for CITES licences and permits in 2004; and whether any changes were made to the fees charged following each review. (124673)

In 1999, there was a review of CITES fees which officials subsequently withdrew as being unworkable. The 2004 review resulted in proposals for an increase of CITES fees but, subsequently, this was withdrawn following detailed consultations with HM Treasury.

No changes were made to fees as a result of these consultation exercises. Both exercises were solely concerned with CITES fees and charges and were not concerned with bird registration fees.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimates have been made of the cost implications for enforcement and conservation agencies of the proposals contained within his Department’s Review of Bird Registration. (124674)

My officials are currently assessing the implications of the consultation exercise. As part of that exercise, I will require them to produce, and publish, a full regulatory impact assessment which will quantify the cost implications of any proposed changes. At the moment, it is too early in the process for me to make any comment on the cost implications.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there is a minimum infrastructure cost associated with running the Bird Registration scheme; and whether reducing the number of birds on Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 would reduce income from bird keepers. (124675)

There are fixed costs such as running costs for the IT system. However, these are extremely small (less than 5 per cent. of the total).

Currently, keepers pay per registration, that is, per bird. Therefore, reducing the number of species listed on schedule 4 would reduce the number of fees (income) paid by keepers.