HC Deb 18 February 1976 vol 905 cc687-8W
Mr. Biffen

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what is the evidence of the current growth in the wild rabbit population in Great Britain; what advice is currently given by the advisory service concerning the control of rabbits; what work is being undertaken by the Agricultural Research Council on this topic; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Strang

Judging by last year's departmental surveys there has been no significant change in the rabbit populations in England and Wales. Any fluctuations have been local and sporadic, and no consistent trends have been discerned. In exercising their statutory responsibility for rabbit control, occupiers can look to my Department for free advice on appropriate control measures which can include shooting, trapping and gassing of burrows. Research into new or improved control techniques is undertaken by the Ministry's Pest Infestation Control Laboratory and its triennial report will be available shortly. A copy of this will be placed in the Library of the House and I shall also send one to the hon. Member. The corresponding surveys in Scotland, and related advisory and scientific support measures, are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.