§ 3.6 p.m.
§ LORD HURCOMB
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the importance of affording all possible protection to birds which are rare or in danger of extinction in various parts of the world, they will consider exercising their powers under subsection 2(b) of Section 7 of the Wild Birds Protection Act, 1954, to prohibit the importation of wild birds except under licence and whether they will give special consideration to those birds of which the export has been prohibited by countries of origin.]
My Lords, my right honourable friends the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Scotland would be prepared to consider requests from any qualified source for an order prohibiting the importation of any particular species in danger of extinction. No request to exercise their powers under Section 7(2)(b) of the Protection of Birds Act, 1954, for this purpose has so far been made to them. In considering any such request my right honourable friends would require evidence of actual or probable importation into this country. They would, as required by the Act, consult their respective Advisory Committees on the Protection of Birds before making any orders.
§ LORD HURCOMB
My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for that reply. May I suggest that the Home Secretary might refer this question to his Advisory Committee? The powers have existed for ten years, when your Lordships' House passed the amended Wild Birds Protection Act. I do not think they intended any of these powers to remain as a dead letter. Might not the Home Secretary himself take a little initiative in this matter? May I add that, if he does not, 937 I can oblige him by seeing that he gets applications that he should do so.
My Lords, I am grateful for the offer of the noble Lord. The fact is that these powers exist, but my right honourable friend has as yet had no representations, either from a foreign country or from any body or association interested in the protection of birds, for these powers to be used. Should there be any such requirement, if the noble Lord or any other respectable body (I use that word in the polite sense) cares to bring these birds to his attention, my right honourable friend will no doubt take note of what is said.