Small numbers of wild boar can benefit biodiversity by disturbing static ecosystems, and contribute to the local economy through wildlife tourism. However, in excessive numbers they can also damage specific wildlife sites and harm the tourism industry, as visitors can be put off by the presence of boar and the visual damage they cause. Local meetings take place every six months to consider the situation and proposals to tackle wild boar numbers.
I thank the Minister for that answer. We have to manage wild boar to keep the population under control. The deputy surveyor in the Forest of Dean is doing an excellent job and has the support of the community, including the local authority, and I would be grateful if the Minister endorsed that good work here at the Dispatch Box.
I am happy to tell my hon. Friend that I endorse the Forestry Commission’s approach, which engages with the local community he represents when considering the impacts of wild boar in the Forest of Dean and setting its own cull figures. While the Forestry Commission is neither expected nor able to control wild boar on anyone else’s land, I would expect it to work in co-operation with the other landowners and the local authority, as necessary.