Deer management plan approved

A Deer Management Plan which implements Aberdeen City Council's statutory legal duty to manage deer at sustainable levels has been agreed at the local authority's Communities, Housing and Infrastructure committee.

The plan demonstrates how the City Council, as a responsible land owner and manager, will implement the requirements of the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 and Deer Management Code of Practice.

The committee report said all deer management will be undertaken using the most humane techniques, comply with best practice procedures and by skilled and fully trained operatives to nationally-accredited standards.

Land managers have a responsibility to manage deer numbers on their land at a responsible level. Where deer management is not undertaken at appropriate levels, the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996 states that Scottish Natural Heritage can intervene to address damage to the following public interests identified: damage to woodland; damage to agricultural production, damage to welfare of deer; damage to natural heritage; damage to social, economic or environmental public interests; injury to livestock by overgrazing or competition for feeding; danger to public safety.

Aberdeen City Council Communities, Housing and Infrastructure Committee convener Councillor Neil Cooney said: "There will be no management until a population survey is completed – we must look at the issue of population densities. "There is currently a big problem with traffic accidents involving deer on the A90 and South Deeside Road.

"Any other practical non-lethal measures will be looked at. Part of the management plan will be to review and update deer awareness signs as part of an essential awareness plan.

"We need a collaborative and consistent plan shared by all landowners in the city and that is what we are setting out to achieve – such collaboration will allow us to confirm deer numbers.

"I would love to see a healthy roe deer population in good physical condition, and that will happen if the numbers are in balance with the habitat. Deer welfare – which includes condition, weight and size – is an important condition, as it public safety."

The committee report said Aberdeen and the surrounding area is one of Scotland's 'hot spots' for deer vehicle collisions with part of the A90 and South Deeside Road having had among the highest density of deer vehicle collisions in Scotland.

The report said vehicle collisions are usually fatal for the deer, either instantly or from the injuries sustained, and they can cause injury to the vehicle's driver and passenger. Records show at least 61 deer were killed as a result of collisions in 2014/15.