This week saw the Rural Affairs, Climate Change & Environment Committee of the Scottish Parliament investigating deer management. The Committee took evidence from environmental interests in one panel session before land manager interests including Jamie Williamson, Richard Cooke and Alex Hogg.
The environmental lobby are pushing for a move towards a statutorily regulated approach to deer management, but the land manager interests, including Scottish Land & Estates, argued that the recent approach established under the WANE 2011 Act needs time to bed in.
Commenting after the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee meeting on deer management, Scottish Land & Estates Policy Officer Anne Gray said:
“We believe the current approach to deer management in Scotland is working well, with the industry firmly established, engaged and continually evolving. All aspects of deer management practice were extensively debated by the Scottish Parliament during the passage of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 and we believe the new arrangement must be given an opportunity to bed down. We argue that the need for further regulation at this time is therefore low and it would be in nobody’s interest to spend more public money on additional regulation in an area of wildlife management that is already working well overall.
“Sustainable deer management requires consideration of economic, environmental and social objectives all together and the deer industry is working towards achieving a good balance. We believe that those who currently call for a full statutory approach to deer management actually place perceived environmental considerations above social and economic factors rather than looking at all three on an equal footing.
“Public and private interests are closely aligned with regard to deer management and the current delivery of the public interest through private sector activity represents very good value for money. Private stalking businesses invest substantially in remote areas, contributing to the viability of local employment and supporting often fragile rural communities. Further regulation would be unwelcome and more importantly wholly unnecessary”.