Peebles conference report

Peebles conference addressed new Act’s implications for lowland deer management.

The packed conference at Cardrona, Peebles on 14 November addressed the issue of deer management in low ground areas, and the new duties that those with deer on their land now have under the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act to manage them sustainably.

Those attending represented both the public and private sector and included landowners, farmers and foresters as well as recreational stalkers and countryside rangers.

They heard from a variety of speakers including Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change; Andrew Thin, Chairman, Scottish Natural Heritage; Robbie Kernahan, Wildlife Operations Unit Manager, Scottish Natural Heritage, Iain Fergusson, Deer Management Officer (South), Forest Enterprise Scotland, and Jonnie Hall, Head of Policy, NFUS.

In addition, a case study on low ground deer management was presented by Robert Speirs and Derek Kneller of the North Lanarkshire Deer Management Group.

Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Environment, said:

“I welcome this initiative which looks at how deer management structures can be adapted for the lowlands.  As a government, we have provided the legislative framework for the delivery of deer management with public interest in mind, and SNH has developed the code of practice intended to support deer mangers with advice on guidance.  However, the right structures must be in place to allow deer managers to work in a collaborative way with neighbours and relevant public authorities.”

Richard Cooke, Chairman of the Association of Deer Management Groups, and who chaired the event, said:

“Deer represent either an opportunity or a threat, depending on your point of view, and whether you are a vocational stalker, farmer, forester, hands-on deer manager, environmentalist, local authority representative or work in the public sector.  They affect us all, and our challenge is to make the most of our opportunities and minimise any possible negative impacts within the parameters of deer welfare, environmental sustainability, public safety and food safety.

“Much of this may be common sense and part and parcel of what we all take to our deer management activities on a daily basis; but we are all accountable and we not only need to follow best practice and take full account of our responsibilities, but also to be seen to do so.”

The event was organised and funded by the Association of Deer Management Groups, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Those who manage lowland deer can join the Lowland Deer Network.  Further details from the Estate Office, Dalhousie Estates, Brechin, Angus DDP 6SG,

tel 01356 624566 e:


Lowland deer management in spotlight at Peebles conference

A conference taking place at the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Peebles on Monday 14 November 2011 will highlight issues surrounding lowland deer management in Scotland in the context of the new Wildlife & Natural Environment (W&NE) Act. The event also marks the launch of the Lowland Deer Network, (LDN) a new initiative designed to assist lowland deer managers to develop a more coordinated approach to managing the deer on their land.

Focusing on roe deer and other species, and as the W&NE Act affects anyone who has deer on their land, the development of LDN is intended to pre-empt issues that are emerging from increasing low ground deer numbers due to expanding woodland habitat and a readily available food supply. Associated issues include roe deer in peri-urban and urban areas, road traffic accidents and damage to productive commercial woodland, crops and conservation areas.

The Cardrona event is aimed at farmers and land managers, deer stalkers (professional and recreational), forestry companies and foresters, Local Authorities and other individuals and organisations who have an interest in how Scotland’s low ground deer resource should be sustainably managed.

The keynote address will be given by Stewart Stevenson MSP, Minister for Environment and Climate Change. Other speakers include Andrew Thin, Chairman, Scottish Natural Heritage, Dr Bob McIntosh, Director, Forestry Commission Scotland, Derek Kneller and Robert Speirs of the North Lanarkshire Deer Management Group, and Jonathan Hall, Head of Rural Policy, NFUS.

Richard Cooke, Chairman, the Association of Deer Management Groups, who is chairing the conference, says:

“Scotland’s rural sector has to recognise that, in terms of the new W&NE Act, low ground deer bring at least as many challenges as their high ground counterparts. This event aims to reach those who farm, have forestry interests, who stalk, or who own or manage land, whether private and public, and advise them about how the Act affects them; also that a more co-ordinated approach may be more effective in managing deer on the low ground and on the urban fringe.”

The day-long conference is free to attend. Places will be given on a first-come basis, with applications/registration to
Tel: 01356 624566.

Issued by and further information from:
Dick Playfair
Playfair Walker
Tel: 0131 445 5570