Evidence for grey squirrel policy in England

Closed 24 Jan 2014

Opened 20 Dec 2013


As one of the key people / organisations we work with on grey squirrels in England, we are asking for your evidence to help us decide whether we need to evolve Government policy and if so, how. 

We will publish a summary of the evidence provided in January 2014 and use it to inform a workshop comprising key organisations.  Through this workshop and associated work we will generate options for evolving the policy and then appraise them.  We will present the options and our recommendation to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.  We plan to let you know the Secretary of State’s decision in February 2014.

Why your views matter

Government’s forestry policy is to protect, improve and expand England’s woodland, humanely managing the impacts of grey squirrels is an important part of that ambition.

Specifically the Government’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement published in January 2013 said that: 

“Diseases are not the only challenge. Unsustainable populations of some deer species and grey squirrels have a significant impact on the successful establishment and regeneration of new woodland, woodland management, the quality of timber and the quality of woodland habitats. Similarly, invasive species such as Rhododendron can cause problems. We will continue to support landowners’ collaboration to ensure sustainable, well-managed wild deer populations, control invasive species and encourage natural regeneration.”

Defra and Forestry Commission England first published a grey squirrel policy in 2006: Grey squirrels and England’s woodlands – policy and action. The time is now right to review that policy as many people are telling us it isn't working and consider what changes should be made, if any, in the light of further evidence.

Following advice from us and other parts of the forestry sector, the Secretary of State has asked Forestry Commission England to review grey squirrel policy working with Defra and Natural England.

We now need your feedback on the evidence supporting policy.

Please follow the link below to the online survey and complete all applicable questions. Although it will be dependent on the detail of your answers, we would anticipate the survey taking around 20 minutes to complete.

For questions relating to this call for evidence please contact Rebecca Isted using the contact details in the right-hand column.


  • Landowner / manager
  • Government department / agency or unitary authority
  • Non-Governmental Organisation / charity
  • Commercial business
  • Wildlife management
  • Woodland group


  • Volunteering, skills and careers
  • Tourism
  • Timber, wood products and woodfuel
  • Grants and licences
  • Woodland management
  • Wildlife management
  • Pests and Diseases
  • Forest design plans