Skip to main content

Grey Squirrels (Warfarin) Order 1973

Volume 341: debated on Thursday 5 April 1973

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

4.27 p.m.

rose to move, That the Draft Grey Squirrels (Warfarin) Order 1973, laid before the House on March 21, be approved. The noble Earl said: This Order has the effect of permitting the controlled use of the poison Warfarin against grey squirrels in England and Wales, and provision for the making of such an Order was included in the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1972. The Draft Order is designed to allow the anticoagulant poison Warfarin to be used against grey squirrels in a specified concentration in a specified bait. It describes in detail the special hopper in which the bait must be laid unless it is to be laid in a building, attic or loft where other animals will not be at risk. The Order applies to the whole of England and Wales but there are sixteen counties with viable red squirrel populations in which the use of Warfarin against grey squirrels will not be permitted out of doors because that would endanger the red squirrels. In West Suffolk, the grey squirrel is responsible for much damage to forestry interests. There are viable populations of red squirrels in the Thetford Chase area, which all nature lovers would wish to protect. To overcome this difficulty, the Draft Order would permit the use of Warfarin out of doors in West Suffolk but I am authorised to give a firm assurance on behalf of the Forestry Commission that Warfarin will not be used in their woodlands at Thetford Chase.

Under the terms of Section 19 of the Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Ministers are required to consult interested organisations before making an Order. My right honourable friends have consulted a number of national organisations representing forestry, wild life conservation and animal protection interests, whose views on the proposals were invited. With the exception of the R.S.P.C.A., which is opposed in principle to any increase in the use of poison in the countryside, they indicated their general approval. Some organisations have made useful suggestions which have been adopted; the Advisory Committee on Pesticides and other Toxic Chemicals have also been consulted and have endorsed the proposals contained in the Draft Order. I know that many of your Lordships are concerned at the very serious depredations of the grey squirrel and I trust that you will consider it justifiable to bring in these Orders. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Grey Squirrels (Warfarin) Order 1973, laid before the House on March 21, be approved.—( Earl Ferrers.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.