HC Deb 05 February 1948 vol 446 cc1896-7
39. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the large number of lapwings offered for sale during the winter months in London stores and at poulterers throughout the country; and whether, owing to the value of these birds to agriculture, he will take action to secure that the provisions of the Wild Birds Protection Acts are respected and this slaughter stopped.

Mr. Ede

I have no information to support the suggestion in the first part of the Question. Last year I brought to the notice of the police the importance of doing all they can to enforce the provisions of the Wild Birds Protection Acts and Orders, with particular reference to the lapwing; and also brought the matter to the attention of those local authorities in whose areas the bird was not protected all the year round.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

In connection with the denial made by the Home Secretary in regard to the first part of my Question, will he pay a visit to Whiteleys, Harrods and other big London stores and he will find that what I have said is correct? Will he also take a leaf out of the book of the Northern Ireland Government—which I do not like recommending—in which the arrangements for the protection of these birds and other wild birds are far better than is the case in this country?

Mr. Ede

I have a great deal to do in the mornings and I do not contemplate adding to my tasks by going round looking at the shops mentioned by the hon. Member. With regard to the second part of the question, since the Debate we had on the Adjournment at Easter, 1947, a number of local authorities have added these birds to their list of protections and only two counties, Herefordshire and Pembrokeshire, do not now protect the birds.

Mr. Rankin

When dealing with the lapwings would my right hon. Friend also direct the attention of the police to the very serious depletion in the numbers of the song-bird population in this country?

Mr. Ede

That is pretty generally known.

Mr. Somerville Hastings

Would my right hon. Friend consider repeating this year the instructions which he sent out last year?

Mr. Ede

No, Sir. I know from the correspondence I have had that these instructions are still being carefully observed.