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Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee: Deer Management Debate

Following the publication of the ECCLR Committee Report on Deer Management in Scotland which draws on the SNH Review of Deer Management in Scotland Report 2016 and the findings of the RACCE Committee in 2013 a debate was held on the 2 May.


Whilst the ECCLR Committee recognises considerable progress in deer management has been made in some areas of the country, the Committee concluded that progress did not and would not represent a step change and a series of recommendations have been made to the Scottish Government.


The committee’s report calls for changes that include new legislative back-stop powers, new powers for SNH to set cull targets, consideration of a new statutory duty to manage deer and the establishment of an independent short-term working group to provide advice on those issues.

The Cabinet Secretary noted considerable progress has been made, but acknowledged progress is patchy. She also recognised there are DMGs that are newly established and that it is perhaps not realistic to expect to see much progress from these in a narrow timeframe, but in other areas there are no collaborative deer management arrangements in place at all.


Whilst not giving a formal Government response at the debate, the Cabinet Secretary expressed her determination at taking the necessary steps to address the concerns expressed, but that there is a need to seek solutions that recognise the realities of the world in which we live stating “ balance will be the key—the balance to be struck between maintaining economic benefits and protecting and restoring the natural environment and the continuing desire to build and carry consensual support from all those with an interest in managing deer ”.


We now await the conclusions and decisions from the Cabinet Secretary.


The full debate can be viewed here


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