§ Mr. Barry Field
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what research he has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the spread of parapox and its effect on the red squirrel population. 
§ Mr. Clappison
No research into the parapox virus has been commissioned by my Department.
I am aware of work being undertaken by the Institute of Zoology in identifying the virus in red squirrels and understand that the institute is working in association with wildlife trusts under the north-west red alert scheme, which enables a number of trusts in the north-west of England to collect red squirrel carcases. We will continue to follow this work with interest and await its outcome, together with any recommendations that are forthcoming.