§ Captain Kerby
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he proposes to take to prevent a repetition of the destruction of nesting nightingales, wild duck and other birds, in the razing by fire of 100 acres of heath and gorse land in Sussex recently; if he will reprimand the agricultural executive committee officials responsible; and if he will now instruct his rabbit squads that no areas of countryside are to be deliberately fired in future.
The clearance of scrub on common land is not undertaken by county agricultural executive committees without the Ministry's consent. The East Sussex A.E.C. was recently authorised to burn eighteen acres of scrub on The Hide, Arlington, and scrub was also burnt on a further thirty-two acres of that area owned by the Forestry Commission in order to clear rabbits which would have become a serious source of re-infestation of neighbouring farms. Where, as in this case other measures are impossible, burning is necessary; but instructions have now been given to A.E.C.s that burning should not be done during the nesting season.