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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-06045: Claudia Beamish (South Scotland)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 13 January 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what the cost has been to Scottish Natural Heritage of each of the current section 7 agreements under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996, including all grant support, staff time and expenses incurred during negotiations.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 27 January 2017

The current suite of Section 7 agreements were negotiated by the Deer Commission for Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) does not hold data which allows for the costs of negotiating these agreements to be identified.

There are currently 3 Section 7 Control Agreements extant (Fannich Hills, Mar Lodge, Caenlochan). A number of recently expired agreements are being reviewed in light of the recent Deer Management Plans which have been produced in 2016.

Staff time in SNH spent on deer management issues is covered under a number of broad business plan headings/activity codes in staff job plans, hence it has not been possible to disaggregate work on individual Section 7 Control Agreements. As presented in the 2016 SNH Deer Review, estimated SNH annual spend across all Section 7 agreements is on average £250,000 per annum.

In the 8 Section 7 areas (Fannich Hills, Mar Lodge, Caenlochan, Bein Dearg, Breadalbane, Inverpolly, Kinveachy) where agreements were in place during the period 2011 – 16, £321,716 has been spent on counts and £237,613 on habitat Impact assessments.

There have been discussions on the potential use of a Section 7 Control Agreement in the Assynt Peninsula Sub Group of West Sutherland Deer Management Group. The costs of these discussions are estimated below. These are provided for illustration only as the size and complexity of potential Section 7 Control Agreements varies considerably.

SNH Staff Costs associated with Assynt Peninsula:

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Total

Total

£2,116.42

£22,241.95

£24,710.50

£34,886.44

£83,955.31

Staff time or costs for the period prior to the 2013-2014 financial year are unavailable as before that staff time was recorded differently.

SNH direct costs associated with Assynt Peninsula:

Year

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

Total

Direct cost

£2,850.00

£8,873.25

£67,858.16

£1,822.26

£81,403.67

These direct costs included deer counting, legal advice, consultancy and mediation.