HC Deb 08 March 1999 vol 327 cc65-7W
Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what instruction he has given the Deer Commission concerning the use of deer fences within areas known to support the capercaillie; and what actions are proposed to remove existing fences where they are dangerous to black grouse and capercaillie; [72893]

Mr. Galbraith

[holding answer 5 March 1999]: The information available for agency nursing staff is shown in the table. No cost data to match the staff numbers are available. Information for bank and contract nursing staff is not available centrally.

From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

(2) if he will add the capercaillie to Schedule 1 part II of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in order to protect its lekking sites from deliberate disturbance. [72894]

Mr. Macdonald

The Deer Commission for Scotland has no powers either to erect or remove fences itself. However, the prevention of strikes on deer fencing by birds such as black grouse and capercaillie is always considered by the Deer Commission for Scotland when advice is given to woodland managers, including the Forestry Commission, on forest protection and deer control. Where new planing is considered under the Forestry Commission's Woodland Grant Scheme, wide consultation takes place to ensure that any fences which are considered necessary are sited to minimise negative effects. In some cases, fences are marked in areas known to be used by birds and removed as soon as the trees are established. The Forestry Commission is removing about 200 km of existing fencing on its own land, and is contributing towards the cost of removing over 100 km of deer fencing on private land.

My right hon. Friend has at present no plans to add the capercaillie to Schedule 1 part II of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Additional protection for the capercaillie, under the 1981 Act, is one of a number of issues currently under consideration by the Scottish Biodiversity Group's Capercaillie Species Action Plan Steering Group.

As from 1 July these will be matters for the Scottish Parliament.

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