HC Deb 23 February 1978 vol 944 cc1684-5
10. Mr. Hardy

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what arrangements for training and consultation have been made to safeguard the ability of Her Majesty's Customs and Excise to ensure that the provisions of the Endangered Species Act will be met.

Mr. Robert Sheldon

The training of Customs officers covers the enforcement of import and export restrictions including those imposed by the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act 1976. There are also written instructions relating to each restriction. Expert advice is made available by the Department of the Environment when required.

Mr. Hardy

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is growing concern at the demanding tasks of recognition of the items covered by the Act? Will he consult further to ensure that Britain's high reputation in this area of responsibility is maintained? Does he agree that the import of ivory in the last two years, which may have accounted for between 2,000 and 3,000 elephants, scarcely helps to maintain that reputation?

Mr. Sheldon

I think that my hon. Friend will accept that the training of Customs officers is adequate to deal with the problem that he has in mind. The quantities that have been imported are less than those that have been licensed. If my hon. Friend is seeking to reduce the number of licences that are made available, he will need to put that point to the appropriate Department.

Mr. Rifkind

Will the Government consider extending the provisions of the endangered species legislation to include the self-employed?