§ Mr. Graham
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many licences have been issued to shoot grey herons at Scottish freshwater fish farms in each of the last five years; and how many herons have been shot under each licence.
§ Mr. Michael Forsyth
The details are as follows for the period 1986–90:
Licences granted Year Number 1986 — 1987 1 1988 1 1989 1 1990 1
Numbers killed under each licence Year Number 1986 — 1987 3 1988 4 1989 3 1990 14 1 (Until October) licence limited to maximum of six.
Each licence application to shoot grey herons is assessed by the NCC in advance of any decision by the Secretary of State. It provides advice on the merits of each application and in particular comments on whether other non-lethal alternative techniques should continue to be pursued. This assessment by the NCC and the Secretary of State is rigorous and two, two, one, and one applications were turned down in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990 respectively.