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Scottish Government announces its position on deer management

In response to ECCLR and SNH reports of deer management, Roseanna Cunningham yesterday announced the Scottish Government’s latest approach to deer management.
In a letter to the Convenor of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, Cabinet Secretary Roseanne Cunningham set out a series of measure the Scottish government intend to take.  These include:
looking to all deer managers to ensure that the public interest is properly taken into account in deer management planning. The Scottish Government will also look to SNH to be proactive in ensuring the public interest is protected and to use the full range of enforcement powers under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 where appropriate;
set up an independent expert group to examine and develop solutions to barriers to effective deer management in the uplands and a separate panel under the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 to look at lowland deer management;
be looking to see effective deer management that protects the public interest embedded across the upland deer range, with appropriate deer management plans in place and commensurate action being taken on the ground
in the lowlands, we will be looking to see all those who own or manage significant areas of land taking responsibility for deer management, and in particular taking action to reduce the risk of collisions between deer and road traffic;
ask SNH to report on progress on deer management in 2019.  If the review does not find sufficient progress with the objectives above, then we would have no alternative but to consider fundamental changes to the framework for deer management in Scotland.
The deer industry has found itself under scrutiny and pressure to change for some time now, and has risen to the challenges made of it. It is welcome that the Cabinet Secretary has recognised this in her letter.  There is no doubt the industry is committed to progressive change and is willing to work with others to ensure a new well-balanced way forward.   
The approach set out above reflects much of what the deer industry called for and as such is to be welcomed.  

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