HC Deb 07 July 1960 vol 626 cc685-6
26 and 27. Mr. Wade

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that the provisions of the Protection of Birds Act, 1954, are made known to the public and, in particular, to young people;

(2) on how many occasions since 1957 posters have been circulated to the police and local authorities for display in schools and public places, drawing attention to the provisions of the Protection of Birds Act, 1954.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Dennis Vosper)

Copies of a poster summarising the provisions of the Act were distributed in 1957 to local authorities and the police, who were told that further copies could be obtained on request. My right hon. Friend does not think that any further steps on his part are called for at present.

Mr. Wade

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there have been some very regrettable cases of killing and maiming of animals and birds, including rare birds, by young people with firearms? Whilst it would not provide an entirely satisfactory solution, it might help if the provisions of this Act were better known. As it was found practicable to display posters in schools and public places in 1957, would it not be possible to repeat that from time to time?

Mr. Vosper

I very much agree with the hon. Gentleman. The posters are available and some local authorities have asked for further supplies. It would be difficult for my right hon. Friend to send supplies without request. I hope that this Question will provoke further demand.

Mr. Eden

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, as a result of this Act, some species of birds have not already so increased in number as either to cause an imbalance in other species or have harmful effects on other plant and animal life?

Mr. Vosper

I believe that there have been some representations to that effect, but I do not think that I should like to answer that question with this one.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Would my right hon. Friend consider introducing licensing of airguns for youths under the age of 16, who spend a lot of time using them to kill and maim wild life?

Mr. Vosper

I do not think that arises from the Question on the Order Paper.