New government deer strategy consultation opens

DEFRA is developing a strategic approach to managing deer populations in an effort to reduce the negative impacts of deer on the natural environment and protect new and existing woodlands
Herd of deer in field

As part of the England Trees Action Plan, DEFRA and the Forestry Commission are launching a deer management strategy, to manage the impact of deer on trees, woodland and agricultural crops in England and safeguard their potential benefits. The strategy will set out key actions to reduce impacts of deer on the natural environment, bring the deer population into sustainable numbers that the ecosystem can support without negative effects and improve on the understanding of deer populations and their overall impact.

This week, Defra and the Forestry Commission have published a one-month consultation to seek views on the key proposals and actions to include in the final strategy. The proposals cover a wide range including:

  • Incentives to increase landowner willingness to reduce deer impacts through active and effective management
  • Improving the provisions within the 1991 Deer Act to enable more effective and accessible deer management
  • Support and provision of advice to the woodland and land management sector
  • Developing landscape scale solutions where deer move across ownership boundaries.
  • Improving the evidence base and development of a national deer data dashboard
  • Improving deer health surveillance.
  • Supporting the wild venison supply chain to boost traceable supply and consumption
  • Increasing sector skills and capacity
  • Supporting research evaluation and monitoring

We must tackle deer numbers where they are out of balance with their environment if tree planting is to be effective in tackling climate change

Mark Tufnell, CLA President

Commenting on the opening of the consultation, CLA President, Mark Tufnell said: “The CLA welcomes the DEFRA consultation on a national Deer Management Strategy. We must manage deer populations and their impact if tree planting initiatives are to succeed. Mark continued: “Excessive deer browsing can prevent new woodlands becoming established, and limit sustainable management and regeneration in existing woodland areas. With burgeoning populations and no natural predators, we must tackle deer numbers where they are out of balance with their environment if tree planting is to be effective in tackling climate change.”

Read the Forestry Commission’s latest blog for more information on the strategy.

Key contact:

William Hanley headshot.jpg
William Hanley CLA National Communications Manager