Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what resources are being applied to research into the effects of New Zealand flatworms; if he will list the studies being undertaken; what assessment he has made of(a) the control of the flatworm in 1995 to date and (b) whether the problem is increasing; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ancram
New Zealand flatworms were first observed in two gardens in Belfast in 1963. They have spread to other parts of Northern Ireland and have now been found in approximately 800 locations. The Department of Agriculture is continuing to carry out research into the effects and control of the flatworm. It is estimated that costs of £366,000 have been incurred on this work since 1988 and £48,000 will be spent on it in 1995–96. Research to date has not identified an effective control measure other than trapping and removal of the flatworms.