Urgent action needed to stop damaging impact of deer


There’s no time to wait in addressing the challenges of wild deer across Scotland, warns a Holyrood committee.

Deer management.

In a report published today, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee outlined changes that must be made to the way in which wild deer are managed, monitored and culled if Scotland is to achieve its biodiversity targets by 2020.

Key findings in the report include:

  • The legislation which aims to protect the natural environment from deer impacts is not fit for purpose.
  • 50% of Deer Management Groups are not delivering an effective plan on the ground.
  • Scottish Natural Heritage, the organisation charged with protecting Scotland’s natural environment, is failing to provide leadership in managing the damaging impact of deer.

Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Graeme Dey MSP said:

“The Committee welcomes the fact that some progress has been made but it’s clear that some Deer Management Groups and the Scottish Natural Heritage need to raise their game to deliver the step change needed.

“Habitats damaged by deer take a long time to recover. We simply can’t go on like this if we’re to achieve the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy targets.

“That’s why we’ve outlined recommendations for Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Government to act to protect and hopefully restore these habitats as a matter of urgency.”


The report follows a number of evidence sessions with those working in deer management in Scotland. More details of the Committee’s work can be found here.

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