PIGEONS

8th May 2019

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what information his Department holds on the (a) value and (b) amount of the agricultural damage done by wood pigeons in England.

Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment: The current costs of woodpigeon damage to the individual grower sectors are not known.

A 2014 estimate of woodpigeon damage to the overall UK oilseed rape crop was approximately £2 million for a ‘low impact’ year (2% of national crop severely damaged) and approximately £5 million for a ‘high impact’ year (5% of national crop severely damaged). This is based on an average loss of £131 per hectare for severely damaged crop. These figures were presented at a National Farmers Union bird deterrent event held in December 2014.

We do not have figures or estimates for damage overall to other UK crops. However, a small scale consultation in 2014 with growers produced estimates of economic loss associated with woodpigeon crop damage ranging from £125 per hectare for oilseed rape to £250 per hectare for peas and £330-£1,250 per hectare for brassicas. It should be noted that general estimates were often broad, lacked detail or in some cases were not provided.

Hansard

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