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Birds: Nature Conservation

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 3 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department plans to take during the 2009 breeding season to monitor the effects on wild birds of the recent changes to Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. (252763)

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Statutory Nature Conservation Agencies support a range of bird surveillance and monitoring schemes in the United Kingdom, usually in partnership with specialist non-government organisations. Surveillance schemes may include annual or periodic assessment of population size and distribution, and allow trends in both to be derived. Schemes are tailored to provide comprehensive coverage of common and rare species in both breeding and non-breeding seasons.

In addition to the monitoring of wild birds, Animal Health's Wildlife and Registration Service, which is the regulatory authority for bird registration, has a compliance monitoring plan in place to reduce the potential for criminality relating to the bird registration scheme. The Animal Health team work closely with the National Wildlife Unit and other UK Law Enforcement Agencies and have a jointly agreed set of national priorities which they work to. Any future change in priorities with regard to bird of prey issues, including taking from the wild and persecution, would be considered and work aligned to this. This will enable more consistency and coordination between Animal Health and enforcement agencies.