§ Paul Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of changes in the numbers of butterflies in58W British resident species which have (a) become extinct in recent years and (b) suffered major declines in numbers. 
§ Mr. Meacher
[holding answer 9 July 2001]On the 54 species of butterfly resident in the UK, more than half are undergoing declines in their populations and distributions. The recently published Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland gives fresh information on which to base new assessments of conservation priorities. The atlas gives us particular cause for concern over five species which have each suffered a more than 50 per cent. loss of range over the last twenty years. These are the High Brown Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Wood White and Large Heath Butterfly. No species have become extinct in the last decade.
Conservation action is underway through Biodiversity Action Plans for a number of butterfly and moth species that set objectives and targets to maintain and, where possible, enhance and restore populations. Six species of butterfly are also fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, with a further 19 species protected against trade.