Date lodged: 28 June 2017
To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the recent reports published by (a) the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and (b) Scottish Natural Heritage on deer management.
Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 29 June 2017
The Scottish Government welcomes the reports on deer management from the Environment Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and notes that both reports draw similar conclusions in that while progress has been made by Scotland’s deer sector, significant further effort is required.
We therefore look to all deer managers to ensure that the public interest is properly taken into account in deer management planning. The Scottish Government will also look to SNH to be proactive in ensuring the public interest is protected and to use the full range of intervention powers under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 where appropriate.
We intend to set up an independent expert group to examine and develop solutions to barriers to effective deer management in the uplands and a separate panel under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 to look at lowland deer management.
We will ask SNH to report on progress on deer management in 2019. We will be looking to see effective deer management that protects the public interest embedded across the upland deer range, with appropriate deer management plans in place and commensurate action being taken on the ground. In the lowlands, we will be looking to see all those who own or manage significant areas of land taking responsibility for deer management, and in particular taking action to reduce the risk of collisions between deer and road traffic. If the review does not find sufficient progress with these objectives, then we would have no alternative but to consider fundamental changes to the framework for deer management in Scotland.