§ Mr. Jessel
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he proposes to contract out the deer management in Richmond and Bushy parks.
§ Mr. Heseltine
Management of deer is a specialised and skilled operation. We have made it clear that we would not contract this out unless we could guarantee the welfare of the animals. Following consultation with the British Deer Society we have concluded that we should continue to690W undertake deer management in the Richmond and Bushy parks. We will therefore continue to employ three gamekeepers.
Nature conservation is an important element in the management of Richmond and Bushy parks and the gamekeepers will continue caring for wildlife generally. The management of the contracts and the work carried out by the contractor's staff will also take this into account.