Deer Management Strategic Board minutes: March 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 7 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Cate Turton - SG NRD (Chair)
  • Robbie Kernahan - NatureScot
  • Simon Hodgson - FLS
  • Donald Fraser - NatureScot
  • Alan Hampson - Scottish Forestry
  • Sam Turner - SG NRD
  • Hugh Dignon - SG NRD
  • Grant Moir - CNPA
  • Gordron Watson - LLTNPA
  • Kirsten Banks - ARE
  • Brodie Wilson - SG NRD
  • Robyn McCormack - SG NRD

Items and actions

Welcome and review (note of 1 November meeting)

Cate welcomed all, particularly Kirsten attending for ARE.

Summarised the Strategic Deer Board role - to lead, support and co-ordinate work and resources on deer management given its significance on delivering on a range of public interest for biodiversity, climate and net zero. 

Note of 1st November agreed and Action 1,2,3,5, discharged. Action 4 incorporated within work-stream activity.

Strategic Deer Board (paper 1)

Robbie introduced the paper which outlined key issues for the Board, each of the issues were then discussed with contributions from members.


  • the board discussed the need for a united and coherent approach across ENFOR directorate and public agencies to support effective delivery on this area of work at national and operational levels
  • it was agreed there was need to develop and build the groups leadership role, the Board identity, demonstration of coherence in approach and messaging


  • (SG) - it was agreed that work would continue to develop and refine this leadership role. A face to face meet with site visit in May would be arranged before the next Board meeting in June


  • there was broad agreement for the vision and objectives. The key drivers being biodiversity, climate, net zero and a just transition. Greater emphasis should be given in highlighting the change that will be required to deliver the outcomes sought. This should reflect the priority for management delivering public interests and benefit. The vision should reflect the need for a different decade ahead


  • (SG / NatureScot) - the Board agreed to further develop and refine the vision statement at the next leadership session, crystallising the vision, binding the Board and providing clarity of intent

Work programme (programme brief)

The Board agreed to develop the four work-stream approach. Board leadership would be provided through leads supporting the work streams.  

The scope of the work streams (commission) will be developed and would encompass delivery of Deer Working Group recommendations. Some elements of work are cross cutting but clear leads to be identified through this process. The work streams will identify priorities, provide the strategic direction on relevant issues and have oversight of delivery.

A developed programme and project management approach is required to set out and manage the different elements of work being taken forward. This will set out the key areas of work, milestones, timeframes, leads and responsibilities.

Legislative – Robbie Kernahan

Incentives – Grant Moir

Regulation – not identified

Operational Delivery – Simon Hodgson


  • (NatureScot) - it was agreed that workstream scope (commission) and membership should be progressed so that the workstream initiation meetings and outline priorities and work plans could be developed in April


The group reflected on the collective resource required to deliver on this.

NatureScot resource was being increased in line with corporate and business plan priorities.

Developing the workstream priorities and the associated work programme would provide a more informed basis for the Board to reflect on collective resourcing needs to deliver this.

This is an area of work to be flagged and reflected in the forthcoming spending reviews.


  • (worksteam leads) – to consider resource needs for workstream delivery for next Board meeting


The Board discussed the need for clear and consistent messaging, providing and demonstrating intent for delivering the vision and outcomes. 

Key areas discussed included:

  • communicating the SDG leadership role, vision and work programme reflecting the need for significant change, pace and scale needed
  • the role of the Ministers and the Board in providing the direction through effective messaging – backed up by delivery of substantive and demonstrable actions/outputs
  • oportunities through NatureScot corporate plan, park plans, rainforest launch and biodiversity milestones to provide the opportunity for delivery and reinforce messaging
  • building a public narrative underpinning the importance this work through media – outlining the need and benefits of reduced populations and impacts to deliver on biodiversity and climate
  • an important element of this includes the importance of sustained need for deer managers, jobs and skills


  • NatureScot – the board agreed to develop a communications and stakeholder engagement plan bringing together key messages, aligning from the vision and objectives. Specifically outlining year 1 opportunities, supported by FAQ on key topics
Back to top