Squirrels in the United Kingdom-An Accord

August 2014

Long term vision for the future -

Our native red squirrel populations are secure and have expanded beyond their current strongholds.

Our woodlands are flourishing and can continue to deliver multiple benefits for future generations.

Aim

The Accord records a common purpose and resolve concerning squirrels in the United Kingdom. Grey squirrels need controlling because of the economic, social and environmental damage that they cause and their adverse impact on red squirrel populations which are part of the natural heritage of the United Kingdom and need protection. Many different parties are involved in work to protect reds or control greys. The signatories to this Accord recognize the vital importance of both these work areas and agree the following long term aim: Red squirrel populations protected and thriving and greys controlled, through targeted and sustained action.

 

Long Term Nature

It is recognized that the practical work, and parallel scientific research, being undertaken to achieve this are often long term commitments. As gains are made in supporting existing red populations and controlling greys, the focus for future action may turn towards reintroducing reds into areas from which they have been lost. Any reintroductions would need to follow International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guidelines.

Funding

The Governmental bodies can only provide so much funding. The private and voluntary sectors will need to commit monies as well. There will naturally be a need to debate how resources can best be deployed so they are mutually reinforcing. Pragmatism and an understanding of others’ constraints will greatly assist the difficult process of achieving consensus. The parties’ commitment to work together will also assist in giving funding applications the best chance of success.

 

Partnership

The work on squirrels must be done through a broad and dynamic partnership between the Governmental, private and voluntary sectors. A transparent and open approach will include a willingness to share information and a positive pragmatic attitude to the efforts of others. Many successful programmes of joint work already exist and these need to be sustained and added to. The signatories endorse the need for simple and effective communication between the parties to enable constructive partnership working. A number of initial parties have committed to work together, and with others, over the remainder of 2014 to formalise a UK communication system in support of the Accord. An effective mechanism for communication should provide an opportunity for parties to share experience and good practice, provide a degree of mutual support, and to work together on communication issues to increase public support for action.