HC Deb 19 November 1942 vol 385 cc497-8
51. Major Milner

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the damage done by sparrows to crops grown in the vicinity of built-up areas; what instructions have been given to war agricultural committees to enable them to deal with these pests; and on what date?

Mr. Hudson

I am aware that house sparrows cause some damage to cereal crops grown on land adjacent to urban areas. No instructions have been given to war agricultural executive committees to enable them to deal with this pest because it is impracticable to take effective action by serving directions under the Defence Regulations; but steps have been taken by means of Press notices, broad- casts, and demonstrations by committees, to impress upon farmers and urban dwellers the necessity for reducing the house sparrow population and to advise as to suitable and effective methods of destruction.

Major Milner

Is not the right hon. Gentleman rather slow in this matter? Has he not had representations from war agricultural committees for many months past and taken little or no action?

Mr. Hudson

I cannot admit that I have taken no action. I have had plenty of representations, but the difficulty is to find effective action. We have, however, recently asked the Agricultural Research Council to consider the possibility of carrying out investigations into the use of temporary narcotics for dealing with house sparrows.

Sir H. Williams

Will my right hon. Friend take account of the extent to which flies, mosquitoes and larvae are destroyed by sparrows?