The Crofting Commission regulates
and promotes the interests of crofting in Scotland
to secure the future of crofting.

Crofting Commission Calls for Stronger Crofting Involvement in Deer Management


The Crofting Commission is today, Tuesday 2nd April 2024, advocating for a more prominent role for crofters and common grazings committees in deer management decisions. This follows their submission to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Managing deer for climate and nature.

“While consultation is crucial,” said Gary Campbell, CEO of the Crofting Commission, “we believe crofters and common grazings committees should be empowered to actively participate in the decision-making process for deer management in appropriate circumstances. As a Commission we have seen the positive impact on the crofting communities that effective and meaningful engagement has on our remote rural communities, we want to ensure that this approach is seen as best practise.”

The Commission welcomes the Scottish Government's commitment to supporting the sustainable use of common grazings in the national development plan for crofting. They emphasise that achieving this goal fairly requires crofters and common grazings committees to have a meaningful level of involvement within the Deer Management Notice and Review Order (DMNRO) process.

Key comments to the consultation from the Crofting Commission:

Meaningful Involvement for Crofters: The Commission proposes that crofters and common grazings committees not only be consulted but actively involved in deer management decisions, particularly when it directly impacts their livelihoods and the land.

Soumings and Carrying Capacity: The Commission acknowledges that soumings (traditional grazing allocations) were established before the current deer population levels. They propose that soumings be considered when creating a DMNRO, with adjustments made to reflect current ecological realities.

A Tiered Penalty System: The Commission suggests a tiered penalty system with an independent appeals mechanism for breaches of DMNROs. This would account for exceptional circumstances beyond a responsible person's control, ensuring a fairer approach.

Clarity on Crofter Rights and Responsibilities: The Commission seeks clarification on the potential impact of DMNROs on crofting tenure and the relationship between landlords and tenants. They propose legislation that ensures landlords work collaboratively with crofters to achieve compliance.

Criteria Specific to Crofting Land: The Commission proposes an addition to the proposed DMNRO criteria that specifically references land under crofting tenure and common grazings in the context of deer management.

The Crofting Commission believes these proposals will foster a more collaborative and effective approach to deer management in crofting areas, ultimately benefiting crofters, the environment, and the overall sustainability of the land.

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