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Wildlife: Birds

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department consulted with (a) the RSPB, (b) the Hawk and Owl Trust and (c) other animal welfare groups on its assessment of the European Eagle Owl as an invasive non-native species which should not be introduced into the wild. (321914)

Between November 2007 and January 2008, DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government held a public consultation on proposals to review schedule 9 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (‘the Act’), and to ban the sale of certain non-native species in England in Wales. Schedule 9 lists species which, under section 14 of the Act, are prohibited from being introduced into the wild.

The European eagle owl was included amongst the species being consulted upon, and on 21 December 2009 the Government announced that it would be added to schedule 9 in April this year.

This was a general public consultation and organisations directly contacted about it included the RSPB and the Hawk and Owl Trust as well as a number other organisations concerned with animal welfare and conservation. The full list of consultees is available on the DEFRA website.

As part of the process for collating evidence to support policy decisions on management of invasive species, full risk assessments are being developed for a number of species. When risk assessments (including that for the eagle owl) are published for expert comment, the GB Non-native Species Secretariat notifies all the stakeholders on its database who have shown an interest in invasive non-native species policy. This includes the RSPB and a wide range of other organisations; however the Hawk and Owl Trust is not recorded among the organisations in the database.