Deer management strategy – have your say on new proposals

17 August 2022

An image of a fallow deer buck

The UK deer population is estimated to have increased to 2 million from 450,000 in the 1970s. Defra has opened a consultation on proposals for sustainable management of the English deer population and ways to reduce their impacts.

17 August 2022

NFU seeks input from members

We will be responding to this consultation on behalf of members.

In particular, we will be highlighting the impacts deer can have on agriculture and the costs involved.

You can read our draft response here: NFU briefing on deer management strategy consultation August 2022

Have your say

We would like to hear your thoughts on the questions set out in the consultation to inform our response.

If you would like to contribute to our official response, please email your comments and example evidence to [email protected] by 23 August 2022.

You can also respond directly to Defra at the GOV.UK website until the consultation closes on 2 September 2022: Defra | Citizen Space | Consultation on proposals for the deer management strategy

Deer management strategy proposals

The UK deer population is at its highest level for 1,000 years. Deer can cause significant damage to crops and agricultural land.

Defra is consulting on a set of proposed changes to deer management to reduce the impacts of deer on the natural environment.

The consultation, in collaboration with the Forestry Commission, is looking at:

  • Sustainable management
  • Improving the laws and regulations on deer
  • Minimising the spread and impacts of non-native deer species
  • Deer health, welfare and safety
  • Wild venison market
  • Developing and improving the evidence base

NFU view

For sustainable deer management to be successful it is important that a landscape scale and collaborative approach is taken.

Our concern is that although the damage by deer to crops and agriculture is recognised, the consultation primarily focuses on the threat deer grazing poses to trees and woodlands.

The consultation must recognise all impacts deer can have, including on farmland, and adequately incentivise their management.

It is concerning to see that the government is exploring a statutory approach to landowner responsibilities to manage deer.

We are encouraging members to respond to the survey and to highlight the need for effective deer management on agricultural land.

4 August 2022

Defra launches consultation

Defra opened its Deer management strategy consultation on 4 August 2022.

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4 August: Defra opened a consultation on its proposals for the sustainable management of the deer population in England.

17 August: The NFU publishes its draft response to the consultation and encourages members to share their views.