§ Lord Moyne
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the Ministry of Defence are withdrawing their support from the Tidworth Rabbit Clearance Society with regard to their untenanted 19,000 acres; whether their tenants are not contractually bound to keep their farms clear of rabbits; and what steps the Ministry propose to take to prevent their tenants' farms being overrun with rabbits from the Ministry's adjacent untenanted land.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (The Earl of Arran)
The Ministry of Defence gave notice in September 1989 of its intention to discontinue membership of the Tidworth Rabbit Clearance Society with effect from 1st October 1990. The department's agricultural tenants are not bound contractually to keep the farms clear of rabbits, but they do have a statutory duty to keep down rabbits under the Pests Act 1954. The Ministry of Defence as landlord generally reserves the right to all ground game and these rights together with additional responsibilities are transferred in every case to the shooting licensees.
In view of the considerable costs of the existing control measures, which have proved to be unsatisfactory, the shooting licensees have been asked to meet their obligations to control ground game and vermin over the area. This should prevent the adjoining agricultural areas becoming overrun with rabbits.