§ Mr. Boswell
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to improve the monitoring of the wild mammal population. [R] 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 10 December 2001]: At present there is no comprehensive, standardised national monitoring of British mammals that embraces the full range of important species. While a range of organisations undertake monitoring, not all mammals are included, surveys are often sporadic and the results distributed to only a limited extent.
A GB-wide research contract "Design and pilot a multi-species terrestrial mammal monitoring project" was let in June 2001 to the British Trust for Ornithology and the Mammal Society. The overall aim will be to design and pilot, using a volunteer network, a winter monitoring project involving both visual recording of mammals and the recording of their signs, and is intended to form a building block for an integrated mammal-monitoring system.
The work will include an analysis of the results and consider aspects such as accuracy, repeatability and the utility of the results for monitoring mammal abundance and distribution and for the potential to assess long-term trends.