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Squirrels: Diseases

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 213348, tabled on 4 November 2014

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to control squirrel pox in the red squirrel population.

Answered on

11 November 2014

Squirrelpox virus is highly infectious and poses a major threat to red squirrel populations. That is why Defra is contributing £50,000 over two years to the Moredun Research Institute, which is undertaking research on the development of a vaccine for squirrel pox virus.

This adds to the wider package of Government actions being undertaken to protect red squirrels from the impact of grey squirrels and the squirrel pox they carry. This includes Natural England and Forestry Commission participation in the Red Squirrels Northern England project and Forestry Commission provision of grant aid, through the English Woodland Grant Scheme, for grey squirrel control in red squirrel areas.