ADMG responds to Cabinet Secretary’s announcement on improvements to the way wild deer are managed

Today, 29 June, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, made her announcement about what happens next for deer management in Scotland. This followed the Deer Review, which comprised the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) 2016 Assessments of Deer Management Groups and subsequent Report, the review by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee and a debate in the Scottish Parliament.

The Board of SNH also met today to discuss its next steps.

Following the Cabinet Secretary’s announcement, Richard Cooke, Chairman, the Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG), said:

“The upland deer sector is committed to progressive change and will work with other interests in developing and implementing new approaches to deer management which plays an important role in the rural economy and rural employment in the remoter parts of Scotland. Thus we welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s decision to set up an independent group to support the deer sector as it moves forward.

“We are pleased to note the Cabinet Secretary’s recognition in her statement of the progress made by the deer sector over the last two years, particularly as this was somewhat understated in the 2016 SNH Report. Deer Management Groups, having adopted new deer management plans which take account of all relevant aspects of the public interest, are now turning their attention and efforts to setting up systematic habitat monitoring across the upland deer range. Hopefully this will result in a more informed debate on the habitat impact of deer along with other herbivores, especially sheep, rather than focusing on deer numbers and densities alone, as has mostly been the case in the recent review process.

“We agree with the Cabinet Secretary that more legislative action is not necessary at this time and support her direction to SNH to use existing statutory powers as a back stop for the voluntary approach in situations where deer management is falling short. We have no difficulty with a more assertive approach by SNH but will expect any such last resort action to be justified on the basis of firm evidence.”

The Cabinet Secretary’s statement can be seen here .
The SNH Board papers including a paper An Enhanced Approach to Deer Management and another on Deer Management of the Assynt Peninsula can be seen here.