The Scottish Government (SG) welcomed the recent reports from SNH (2016) and the ECCLR Committee (2017) on deer management in Scotland. The Government also noted that both reports concluded that, while there have been some improvements in deer management, significant issues remain.
The SG therefore announced on 29th June 2017 (Scottish Parliament, Written Answer SSW-10023) that it would establish an independent working group to examine the current issues over the standards of deer management in Scotland and recommend changes to help resolve these issues in ways that promote sustainable deer management (Sustainable deer management as defined in the statutory Code of Practice on Deer Management (2011)).
The working group will consider the position with all species of wild deer in Scotland and the varying circumstances across Scotland in both the uplands and lowlands.
The Group will make recommendations for changes to ensure effective deer management in Scotland that safeguards public interests and promotes the sustainable management of wild deer.
The SG may also refer specific topics to the Group that might be considered by the Group as part of its work.
The Group will set out its recommendations in its final report. The Group will also be able to make interim recommendations to the SG prior to its final report, if the Group considers that appropriate.
The Group will submit its final report to the Cabinet Secretary before the end of April 2019. The SG will aim to publish the report within approximately four weeks of receiving it.
The report will be published as an electronic document on the SG website. The design of the report will be agreed between the Group and SG prior to submission.
The SG will aim to give an initial formal response to the Group's recommendations before the Scottish Parliament's summer recess in 2019.
The term of the Group will end once it has submitted its final report to the Cabinet Secretary, subject to the Chair and one or more members of the Group appearing before the ECCLR Committee after publication of the report, if requested by the Committee.
The Group will have 4 members, each of whom will have experience relevant to the Group's remit. They will be appointed by the Cabinet Secretary and be members of the Group in a personal capacity. One member will be appointed as the Group's Chair and another as its Special Adviser. The Group will also have an External Adviser, who will be appointed in a personal capacity for their particular expertise in deer management.
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