Kitty Thompson, nature programme manager at the Conservative Environment Network, said: “Grey squirrels are a menace to British biodiversity. As well as driving down our red squirrel population, they harm our trees and woodlands.
“By stripping them of bark, grey squirrels can severely damage trees, leaving them vulnerable to pests and disease, or even killing them.
“If we are to meet our biodiversity target, we need to do something about grey squirrels.
“Grey squirrel population control must go hand in hand with red squirrel habitat restoration. Pine martens, another endangered species in England and Wales, can control grey squirrel numbers whilst coexisting with their red counterparts.
“We should support pine marten reintroduction projects and the vital accompanying research to save our red squirrels and woodlands.”