Welcome to the 8th Action Plan for Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA). WDNA is a collectively agreed, national vision for deer management. It aims to encourage private land owners and public bodies to work together across Scotland to balance the needs of the environment, local economies and people’s health and well-being.
The Cabinet Secretary set out challenges for the deer sector to meet by 2019. These have set the context for much of the work in 2018/’19.
A summary of the main actions included in this Action Plan is included below. Further details on all actions are set out in the following pages.
(1) Each WDNA Action Plan runs from beginning of April until the end of March the following year.
- The Deer Working Group, commissioned by the Cabinet Secretary, will continue to gather data on a range of legislative, policy and practical challenges and opportunities associated with deer management to inform their report and recommendations due in 2019;
- Identifying how public interests associated with deer management are delivered in the lowlands. This work is being carried out through the Lowland Deer Management Project in recognition that circumstances, practicalities and land ownership demand a different approach to that in the uplands. The Project’s objectives are to gain a better understanding of what deer management is taking place, what the impact of deer and their management is, what data is being gathered and what opportunities there might be for greater collaboration amongst deer managers;
- Compliance with the Deer Code. An audit will be carried out to review the extent of compliance with the Deer Code. The results will form the basis of a report to be submitted to parliament in spring 2019;
- Deer Management Group Assessment. Building on the NatureScot 2016 Deer review NatureScot and ADMG will continue to work together to refine the metrics for assessing DMG performance and prepare for the 2019 assessment. This will include a health check of current delivery of DMGs;
- Training in deer management. Training opportunities will be delivered and developed for deer managers in the uplands and lowlands. This will include sessions delivered on habitat impact assessments and DCS Level 1 & 2 training courses;
- Support the development of a venison strategy. A strategy will be developed by a range of partners involved to help meet Ambition 2030 (a vision for food and drink to become Scotland’s most valuable industry).
This Action Plan has been compiled by NatureScot, co-ordinated through the WDNA Steering Group (Forestry Commission Scotland, Forest Enterprise Scotland, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Government) on behalf of all WDNA contributors (see Annex 2 for full list).
What is Scotland's Wild Deer: A National Approach?
Scotland’s Wild Deer: A National Approach (WDNA) is a collective vision for sustainable deer management in Scotland. It was developed and is being delivered by private and public bodies who share the same ambition that:
‘We manage wild deer to achieve the best combination of benefits for the economy, environment, people and communities for now and for future generations’
Launched in 2008 and revised in 2015 WDNA includes a set of challenges for 2015 - 2020. WDNA sets common goals including sustaining jobs, providing opportunities for people to see deer, promoting venison and protecting vulnerable habitats including woodlands.
This Action Plan identifies how a range of organisations will contribute to these challenges in 2018 and into 2019.
What are the WDNA 2015-2020 Challenges?
The WDNA challenges are grouped under the following headings:
- Collaboration & Effective Deer Management Planning and Implementation
- Healthy Ecosystems
- Lowland & Urban Deer
- Economic & Community Development
- Training & Wild Deer Welfare
The challenges were developed in 2014 to guide actions on the ground for 2015-2020. They were agreed in discussion with a range of contributors who recognised the need to prioritise areas of work over the five year period to 2020. They highlight action needed across the public and private sectors.
What is the Purpose of the WDNA Action Plans & Reports?
The purpose of the WDNA Action Plans & Reports, which are published each year, is to:
- Promote and encourage activity across the deer sector;
- Recognise new ideas and actions from a wide range of private, public and community sectors and NGOs that contribute to the delivery of WDNA;
- Capture core ongoing organisational activities which contribute to the delivery of WDNA; Enable an assessment of what has and what hasn’t been delivered and why.
MEETING THE CHALLENGES
1. Collaboration & Effective Deer Management Planning & Implementation
Wild deer are not confined by human boundaries and as a result often need to be managed collaboratively. Groups (e.g. Deer Management Groups), networks (e.g. Lowland Deer Network Scotland) and other deer partnerships and fora play a core role in enabling and supporting this collaboration.
Deer Management Groups (DMGs) came under parliamentary scrutiny as part of the 2016 NatureScot Deer Review. The Review recognised the significant progress the 44 DMGs in Scotland have made in delivering sustainable deer management. However, the report also concluded that further work was required. Work in 2018 will focus on supporting DMGs in moving from planning to implementation of agreed actions in preparation for the DMG assessment due in 2019. Support for new DMGs will also be provided.
The Code of Practice on Deer Management (Deer Code) came into force in January 2012. Based on WDNA, its purpose is to guide the delivery of sustainable deer management. This year a review will be carried out on the extent of compliance with the Deer Code. This will form the basis of a report submitted to parliament in June 2019.
What will be done in 2018?
Build on work to develop conflict management tools
1.1 Develop handy bespoke guides on conflict management tools and techniques - NatureScot
Ensure robust deer management planning and implementation
1.2 Help set up and support East Lomond & Trossachs DMG - LL&TNPA
1.3 Provide support to all DMGs within the National Park, including West Lomond DMG and Cowal Deer Working Group - LL&TNPA
1.4 Identify how to incorporate deer management into Long Term Forest Plans - FCS/FES
1.5 Refine and agree the priority criteria and set targets for the DMG 2019 assessment - NatureScot
1.6 Work closely with NatureScot to develop the detail and supporting guidance for the 2019 DMG Assessment - ADMG
1.7 Set up assessments for the DMG Assessment in 2019 - NatureScot
1.8 Hold 2 training workshops to provide practical advice and support to DMGs on delivering Deer Management Plans and help prepare for the 2019 Assessments - ADMG
1.9 Support DMGs to undertake Health Checks to identify opportunities for further work and prioritise actions to deliver the Public Interest within individual Deer Management Plans with particular focus on Designated Sites, Native Woodland & Woodland Expansion, Peatland Restoration and wider habitats - ADMG/NatureScot
1.10 Provide a more targeted approach to poorly performing groups by working at the local scale - ADMG
1.11 Organise a number of events (DSC1, DSC2 and Deer Management courses) which emphasise the need to prepare and implement clear and robust plans for adaptive management - BDS
Promote and implement the Deer Code
1.12 Circulate an audit to review the extent of compliance with the Deer Code NatureScot
1.13 Produce a report for parliament on the extent of compliance with the Deer Code and the extent to which the Deer Code has promoted effective sustainable deer management NatureScot
1.14 Run training events which emphasise the need to adhere to the Deer Code and Wild Deer Best Practice WDBPSG
1.15 Promote Wild Deer Best Practice through new website and social media (Facebook and twitter - @BPG) NatureScot/WDBPSG
Raise awareness of the need for effective deer management
1.16 Deliver activity sessions for school children introducing the need for deer management and introduction to the benefits of venison SNL/RHET/BASC/LL&TNPA
1.17 Add a deer page to the LL&TNPA website LL&TNP
1.18 Develop a new digital platform to promulgate information on the biology of deer BDS
1.19 Deliver the ‘Hill to Grill’ programme with partners as part of the Outdoor and Woodland Learning project SWT
1.20 Hold a 2 day seminar on Wild Deer including topics such as deer welfare, research and habitat impacts BDS
Establish a shared, trusted high quality knowledge base associated with wild deer
1.21 Let a contract to scope the technical aspects of SWARD and help ensure it is user friendly NatureScot
1.22 Support the development of an article analysing the effects of population reductions on red deer distribution and movement patterns within the wider landscape and on red deer population dynamics BDS
2. Health Ecosystems
Deer are a keystone species and an integral part of the biodiversity of Scotland. However, they can also have a detrimental impact on ecosystems and biodiversity. WDNA is based around managing deer as part of an ecosystem.
Meeting the 2020 Biodiversity Challenge will rely on achieving appropriate levels of deer grazing within ecosystems and reducing their negative impacts across habitats and ecosystems.
2018 marked a big step forward in Scotland’s climate change ambition and action, with a new Energy Strategy and new Climate Change Bill introduced. The Climate Change Bill proposes an increase in the current emissions reduction target from 80% to 90% by 2050 as set out in the current Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. Protecting peatlands and woodlands is one way to achieve this. Grazing, trampling and browsing of wild deer can have positive and negative consequences for the vegetation cover, depending on the level of impact. These impacts need to be kept in balance if woodland and forest cover are to be increased and peatland protected.
What will be done in 2018?
Contribute to the 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity
2.1 Implement the Invasive Non-Native Species Code as and when necessary and monitor and act upon any reported sightings of Muntjac NatureScot/FES
2.2 Rationalise and promote Habitat Impact Assessment guidance for woodlands FCS/NatureScot
2.3 Develop training and awareness raising days for the Woodland Habitat Impact Assessment through WDBP partners NatureScot/FCS/ADMG/WDBPSG
2.4 Run training courses to provide resources and training in techniques such as Habitat Impact Assessment BDS
2.5 Launch on-line tutorials to support Habitat Impact Assessments ADMG
Carry out work to mitigate, reduce and adapt to the effects of Climate Change
2.6 Act as a facilitator for peatland action on sites within the National Park LL&TNPA
2.7 Carry out actions related to peatland action CNPA
2.8 Promote riparian woodlands as part of woodland expansion FCS
Contribute to achieving Favourable Condition status for designated features
2.9 Contribute to addressing herbivore impacts which are contributing to unfavourable condition of designated features in woodlands FES/FCS/ADMG
2.10 Contribute to addressing herbivore impacts which are contributing to unfavourable condition of designated features in the uplands NatureScot/ADMG/FES
2.11Carry out deer management to contribute to achieving Favourable Condition Environment LINK
2.12 Carry out a deer census programme. NatureScot
3. Lowland & Urban Deer
Increasingly, deer are moving into areas in and around towns. This inevitably brings more people into contact with deer and presents both challenges and opportunities. Challenges include deer vehicle collisions and reducing the damage that can be done to urban woodlands and green spaces. The opportunities include people being able to see and learn more about deer from direct experience.
Approaches to deer management in and around towns need to vary from those in the uplands as there are fundamental differences in the patterns of landownership. There are also differences in species with roe deer tending to be the most common species in and around towns. This need for a different approach was recognised by the ECCLR Committee in their sessions on deer management in 2016/17. The Lowland Deer Project is helping to address this need by exploring what is meant by public interests in the low ground and understanding what deer management is taking place and how different deer management delivers different public interests.
What will be done in 2018?
Improve understanding of deer population dynamics
3.1 Carry out an assessment of deer count and cull data as part of the Lowland Deer Management Project NatureScot/FCS/LDNS
Develop a range of options for lowland and urban deer management planning
3.2 Complete and promote the first phase of the Lowland Deer Management Project to provide an assessment of all the data that relates to deer and deer management in the project area NatureScot/FCS/LL&TNPA
3.3 Support the development of Local Authority deer management policy positions and statements and Deer Management Plans NatureScot
3.4 Review the make-up and deliverables of LDNS NatureScot /FCS/Transport Scotland/ LDNS
Co-ordinate, make available and use current data on lowland and urban deer
3.5 Start phase two of the Lowland Deer Management Project to take the data assessment from phase one and use this to better understand the nature and extent of collaborative deer management being undertaken and how the public interests are being delivered NatureScot/FCS/LL&TNPA
3.6 Improve understanding of number of deer being culled and by whom in the lowlands and urban areas NatureScot/LDNS
Understand public perception of urban and lowland deer
3.7 Deliver ‘Deer on your Doorstep’ events LDNS
3.8 Maintain delivery of a communications and events programme to a wide audience on deer and deer management on the low ground LDNS
3.9 Hold an event for Local Authorities to raise awareness of deer and their management NatureScot
4. Economic & Community Development
Attempts are being made to put an economic value on Scotland’s wildlife and ecosystems. This increases our understanding of the interrelationship between our natural resources, environment and economy.
The annual monetary value of wild deer management in Scotland was estimated in 2014 to be £17.6 million. Deer management supported an estimated 722 full time equivalent jobs, many in remote and fragile communities.
There are opportunities to add value to deer-related products and activities, and to broaden the economic benefits associated. The economic costs associated with wild deer can be significant, for instance road collisions with deer are estimated to cost £9.4million a year2. Other costs include to agriculture and to forestry. The costs and benefits of deer need to be better understood and managed effectively to maximise the contribution deer make to sustainable economic growth.
What will be done in 2018?
Encourage diverse economic opportunities
4.1 Provide venison from National Nature Reserves and National Parks for local events and sales NatureScot/FCS/CNPA
4.2 Progress work to try and attain PGI status for Scottish Wild Venison SVP
4.3 Further explore the use of deer larders and cold stores in the low grounds NatureScot/LDNS/FES
4.4 Provide a deer management sporting lease opportunity on the Isle of Rum NNR NatureScot
4.5 Work with the sector to produce a strategic plan for Scottish Venison to fit with Scotland Food and Drink's Ambition 2030 SVP/NatureScot
4.6 Support the implementation of specifications for venison marketing research in the Assynt area SWT
Understand the costs and benefits of deer management
4.7 Identify opportunities to use the cost benefit analysis of deer culling and fencing FCS
4.8 Review the usefulness of LM3 (Local Multiplier) at the DMG scale CNPA
4.9 Explore the concept of Natural Capital at the ADMG AGM. ADMG
Build on work to address deer vehicle collisions and human disease risks
4.10 Continue to raise awareness amongst staff and stalkers of deer-related human disease risks such as Lyme disease from ticks FES
4.11 Collate DVC records from main data sources of Road operating companies, SSPCA records and Human injury records Transport Scotland/NatureScot
4.12 Carry out further risk analyses to identify where to target further action on trunk roads and prioritised Local Authority areas Transport Scotland/NatureScot
4.13 Facilitate the annual Spring and Autumn Deer Campaign to help raise awareness amongst road users of the likelihood of deer movements Transport Scotland/NatureScot
4.14 Contribute to the production of new risk maps of DVC risk on roads in Scotland BDS
4.15 Engage with Transport Scotland in the concerns for the reduction of DVC through road and fence design on the Dualling program for the A9 BDS
4.16 Continue to be involved in the debate about the role of deer in the complex and interactive system of deer, ticks and Lyme disease BDS
Develop appreciation and understanding between access and deer management
4.17 Support responsible access and responsible land management by operating the Heading for the Scottish Hills web service NatureScot
4.18 Promote Heading for the Scottish Hills web site NatureScot/LL&TNPA/CNPA
4.19 Promote Scottish Outdoor Access Code advice relating to stalking to members and to
the general public via the website linking to the HFSH / Hill phones when the scheme
is launched each summer Ramblers Scotland
4.20 Take opportunities to publicise and promote the rights and responsibilities of the
public with regard to walking during the stalking season Ramblers Scotland
4.21 Liaise over issues relating to access and stalking through the National Access
Forum Ramblers Scotland
4.22 Encourage responsible access through the Land Management Access Forum LL&TNPA
4.23 Develop new tools to assess chronic stress in free-ranging populations of deer,
specifically to develop appropriate methods to determine effects of disturbance on
deer welfare BDS
5. Training and Wild Deer Welfare
The provision and uptake of training is central to establishing a strong skill base in the deer sector. This helps to ensure deer management is carried out effectively with knowledge and best practice underpinning all actions and decisions.
Wild deer welfare underpins WDNA. Existing work will be built on to increase understanding of practical deer welfare.
We need to ensure there continue to be plenty of opportunities to develop further employment, skills and knowledge in the sector to build capacity. We need to ensure that the current diversity of events and training courses continue and are expanded.
What will be done in 2018?
Ensure a strong skill base in deer management
5.1 Hold a WDBP Demonstration Day for colleges NatureScot
5.2 Hold Habitat Impact Assessment Training Days NatureScot/FCS/ LL&TNPA
5.3 Run an event on best practice in food hygiene and carcase preparation NatureScot
5.4 Hold Open Range Days and Run DSC courses BASC/BDS
5.5 Deliver two sessions for the public on exemplary venison butchery to engage with DIY audience SNL/SVP/FES
5.6 Run the advanced Deer Management course BDS
5.7 Work with Food Standards Scotland and others to raise awareness of, and to minimise risks of, contamination in the food chain in relation to venison NatureScot/SVP
5.8 Provide training, as requested, to support deer managers in the Assynt area SWT
5.8 Promote positive and rewarding career choices through the Lantra Industry Champion’s Initiative Lantra
5.9 Organise a careers influencer event for the north of Scotland and support for career events arranged by other organisations to raise awareness of career opportunities in the land-based and environmental conservation sector Lantra
5.10 Celebrate the achievements of learners and new entrants through the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year awards Lantra
5.11 Develop a SVQ Level 4 (SCQF Level 8) Rural Land Use and Management award and technical Rural Land Use And Management Modern Apprenticeship SCQF Level 8 framework, which includes a gamekeeping learning pathway Lantra
Understand, promote and deliver wild deer welfare
5.12 Roll out the revised WDBP Guides on welfare NatureScot
5.13 Promote and run training on the updated WDBP Guides on welfare NatureScot
5.14 Continue to be closely involved in work to assess the risk of Chronic wasting disease to deer populations in UK BDS
Annex 1: Monitoring and Reporting
WDNA will be monitored and reported in two ways:
Annual Action Reporting
Annual reports will set out progress against annual actions. These will provide an insight into the depth and breadth of actions which have been delivered across the deer sector and beyond. Each action contributes to a specific priority or in some cases multiple priorities. A summary of key achievements for the preceding year will be included in each WDNA Action Report.
Monitoring the Impacts
A set of revised indictors have been included in the 2014 WDNA. An initial report, covering the period 2008 – 2013, is available on the NatureScot website. These indicators reflect trends in the state of the environment, economy and society as they relate to wild deer. They will continue to be refined and developed.
Biannual reports on the indicators will be produced. Together with data and analysis from wider monitoring of ecosystems and social and economic benefits, these will help build a picture of trends and progress.
Annex 2: List of Action Leaders and Contributors for this Action Plan
Association of Deer Management Groups (ADMG)
British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC)
British Deer Society (BDS)
Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA)
Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS)
Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES)
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority (LL&TNP)
Lowland Deer Network Scotland (LDNS)
Scottish Environment Link (Link)
Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT)
Scottish Venison Partnership (SVP)
Wild Deer Best Practice Steering Group (WDBPSG)
Annex 3: Structure of WDNA
1. There will be widespread understanding and achievement of sustainable deer management so as to contribute to:
- A high quality, robust and adaptable environment.
- Sustainable economic development
- Social well-being
2. Wild deer will be managed in an inclusive way with knowledge used to underpin all decisions
Wild deer should be managed throughout their range in a way that –
- integrates deer management and other land-use objectives
- uses collaboration to achieve the management objectives
- uses a geographical scale and timescale best suited to achieving the management objectives
- engages and communicates with all relevant interests
- uses sound science and the best available evidence promotes deer welfare
|-||A high quality, robust and adaptable environment||Sustainable economic development||Social well-being|
|Objectives||Contribute to healthy ecosystems and conserve and enhance biodiversity in the wider countryside
Secure the favourable condition status of Scotland’s sites designated for nature
Help tackle and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Minimise further spread of non-native deer species in Scotland.
Safeguard the welfare of all species of wild deer.
f) Conserve and enhance the cultural and historic environment and the distinct identity, diverse character and special qualities of Scotland’s landscapes
|a) Increase the economic opportunities associated with wild deer.
b) Minimise economic costs attributable to wild deer.
c) Provide the skills and knowledge required to manage deer as an integral part of Scotland’s natural resources.
d) Contribute to the social and economic development of communities.
|a) Contribute to a safe and healthy environment for people.
b) Increase participation in management and enjoyment of wild deer.
c) Manage the impacts of wild deer in and around communities.
d) Promote venison as a healthy food.
Contributing to all objectives
- Establish a shared, trusted and high quality knowledge base associated with wild deer to support local action
- Develop effective frameworks for sustainable deer management
- Raise awareness and understanding of wild deer and their management
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