§ Mr. Morley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will provide estimates to show the change in the numbers of barn owls in England and Wales over the last 20 years. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
My Department's statutory scientific advisers, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, advise that the estimated population of barn owls in Great Britain and Ireland, when surveyed during 1968–72, was between 4,600 and 9,000 pairs. A survey carried out during 1982–85 estimated the population to be between 5,000 and 5,300 pairs. It is impossible to compare directly the results of different surveys, as different survey techniques may have been used.