Grey squirrel

These animals are largely responsible for the disappearance of the native red squirrel from most of England and Wales. They out-compete red squirrels for food supply and space, and spread the fatal disease, squirrel pox. They are also known to strip tree bark, damaging timber and specimen trees, which costs the economy up to £10 million a year.
 
Grey squirrels have no specific legal protection, other than under the Animal Welfare Act, and can be managed by lawful methods at any time of the year. There are, however, restrictions under the Wildlife and Countryside Act to discourage their spread and prevent any additional threat to red squirrel populations. Licences for grey squirrel releases are either restricted or not allowed in many areas across the UK, because of this ongoing concern.
 
The Forestry Commission reviewed the policy for grey squirrels in England in 2014 and made necessary improvements. It found strong support for the need to manage the impact of grey squirrels and concluded that the existing approach towards red squirrel conservation is working, but must be maintained. Further incentives for proper squirrel management have been introduced and updated guidance is being drafted. 
 
The Accord, which the government is a part of, is leading on further research into management and control methods. They draw together UK organisations involved in red squirrel conservation and woodland management to bring a common approach to grey squirrel management.