HC Deb 07 May 1996 vol 277 cc93-4W
Mr. John Morris

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the cost of setting up an EDS computer system for the Child Support Agency; and what have been its monthly running costs since April 1993. [27406]

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Government's statutory scientific conservation advisors, commissioned a survey of brown hares between 1991 and 1993. The survey found that while there had been a decline in hare numbers since the 1960s it was not clear if numbers were continuing to decline. The survey concluded that hare coursing had affected only a small proportion of populations and did not pose a threat to national populations.

The biodiversity steering group, chaired by my Department, was set up to advise Government on costed targets for the UK's most threatened and declining species and habitats. The group published its findings on 13 December 1995. "Biodiversity: The UK Steering Group Report" includes a costed action plan for the brown hare. The plan proposes a number of actions to maintain and expand existing populations, with the aim of doubling spring numbers in Britain by 2010.

The Government will publish their response to the report shortly.