Roseanna Cunningham warns SNH must take a harder line with non-cooperative landowners on deer management

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 29 June 2017 in News

Scottish Government will establish an independent group to examine deer management in Scotland

Wild red deer – credit: Michel Curi

The Scottish Government will establish an independent group to examine deer management in Scotland, Roseanna Cunningham has announced.

The Environment Secretary has warned that Scottish Natural Heritage must do more to improve deer management planning, while taking a harder line with non-cooperative landowners, as part of efforts to protect habitats and help biodiversity.

Ministers will test current intervention powers before making further legislative changes.


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The move follows a report from the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, outlining changes that must be made to the way in which wild deer are managed, monitored and culled if Scotland is to achieve its biodiversity targets by 2020.

The report, which warned that legislation aimed at protecting the natural environment from deer impacts is not fit for purpose, found that 50 per cent of deer management groups are not delivering an effective plan on the ground.

MSPs also warned that Scottish Natural Heritage is failing to provide leadership in managing the damaging impact of deer.

Cunningham said: “While some progress has been made in the management of our wild deer following recent changes to legislation and through the work of the Association of Deer Management Groups, we know further improvements are needed to minimise the costs of deer road vehicle collisions and replacing fencing, as well as reducing the environmental impact.

“By setting up an independent group on deer management, encouraging SNH to use their full range of powers and improving deer management plans, we hope to address the main challenges and ensure we protect our environment and the interests of the public, as well as support the rural economy.”

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