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LDNS Dec 15

The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) Committee has published its Stage 1 Report on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill.

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December 2015

LAND REFORM (SCOTLAND) BILL

Publication of Stage 1 report by the RACCE Committee
The Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment (RACCE) Committee has published its Stage 1 Report on the Land Reform (Scotland) Bill. The full report can be accessed here:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_RuralAffairsClimateChangeandEnvironmentCommittee/Reports/RACCES042015R10.pdf

There is also an executive summary available:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_RuralAffairsClimateChangeandEnvironmentCommittee/Reports/RACCES042015R10A4.pdf

The Committee has accepted that deer management in Scotland cannot be governed by a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach, and has acknowledged that there are major differences between approaches on the low ground and in upland areas. The three conclusions under the chapter Low Ground Deer Issues in the report are as follows

Deer management challenges in the Lowlands are clearly often very different from those in the Highlands, however, there are fears that the lowland deer situation could be as bad as that faced in some parts of the Highlands. The significant problems in many parts of lowland Scotland therefore require specific consideration in the upcoming review.

In terms of lowland deer management, there is an urgent need for better group structures; greatly improved collaboration between land owners and managers; more proactive positive engagement by local authorities and public agencies; and the establishment of deer larders to help with the processing and marketing of venison products. The lack of robust data on deer numbers, densities and impacts in the Lowlands must also be addressed. The Committee recommends that the Scottish Government seeks to address these issues as a matter of urgency, and also ensures that they are taken into account when setting the remit for the 2016 review.

The Committee also recommends that the Scottish Government considers what, if any, role the new Scottish Land Commission could have in providing leadership on lowland deer management issues.

Sporting Rates
The Committee has concluded at this stage that it has significant concerns relating to the re-introduction of non-domestic rates from deer forests and shootings and has asked the Scottish Government to provide “thorough, robust, and evidence-based analysis of the potential economic, social and environmental impacts of ending the sporting rates exemption” before Stage 2 of the Bill if the Committee is to support this proposal.

The proposal for possible exemption from business rates, should they be reintroduced, where effective sustainable deer management is being carried out is also cited in the report.

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This bulletin is produced for the Lowland Deer Network Scotland by: Playfair Walker www.playfairwalker.com