§ Mr. Kidney
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what action she intends to take to extend full protection to the water vole under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). 
§ Mr. Bradshaw
Every five years the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) advises Government on which animals should be legally protected by listing on Schedule 5 (not schedule 9) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. JNCC reported to Government with its recommendations in September 2002, which included full protection for this species. The next stage is for Government to conduct a public consultation based on these recommendations. This will take place in June 2004. 443W Following this consultation, the Secretary of State will decide on the changes to be made to the schedules and these will be implemented by Statutory Instrument.