Action plan calls for joint approach to control deer

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A five-year action plan to manage the growing number of deer has been published by the Welsh Government.

The plan calls for a joint approach by public and private land owners and managers to control the impacts of wild deer on agriculture, forestry and vulnerable habitats.

It follows the development of a Strategy for Wild Deer Management in Wales by Forestry Commission Wales in partnership with the Welsh Government, Countryside Council for Wales (CCW) and the Deer Initiative.

The actions include:

• raising awareness of wild deer and their impacts (both positive and negative)

• developing effective methods for monitoring the presence of wild deer

• developing a more collaborative approach to managing wild deer

• promoting best practice for population management to ensure the welfare of the deer

• encouraging the reporting of road collisions involving deer.

The plan recognises that groups will need to work together if the Welsh Government is to achieve its vision that Wales benefits from its wild deer population in balance with the natural, social and economic environment.

John Griffiths, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, said, “The action plan stresses the importance of a co-ordinated approach to the management of wild deer involving private landowners, public bodies and non-governmental organisations.

“Only by working in partnership can many of the actions be delivered and I am pleased to see this reflected in the involvement – through the Deer Initiative Partnership in Wales – of a wide range of groups and organisations in the production of this plan.”

Although wild deer are not as numerous or widespread in Wales as in other parts of the UK, their numbers and spread are increasing along with their impact. 

Deer are very adept at moving through the countryside and woodland expansion, coupled with management of other habitats, has encouraged their spread, increasing the need to control populations in order to maintain the balance of nature.

Deer can damage native flora, agricultural crops and trees, cause road traffic incidents and could potentially transmit TB.

Data collected by the CCW indicates that deer damage has been recorded in 22 Special Areas of Conservation, mainly in the Wye, Elwy and Elan Valleys.

Jane Rabagliati, chairman of the Deer Initiative, welcomed publication of the action plan. 

She said, “Deer management must be undertaken at a landscape scale if it is to be effective, and this requires co-ordinated action. We look forward to supporting the next stage, which will be the building of a strong partnership to deliver it.”

The actions will be monitored annually and a progress report published. The plan will be reviewed and updated after five years in 2016. It can be viewed at


A total of 14.3 per cent of Wales is covered by woodlands. Of this, 38% (126,000 hectares/311,000 acres) is owned by the Welsh Government.

Forestry Commission Wales is the Welsh Government’s department of forestry and manages these woodlands on its behalf.

For more information on the Strategy for Wild Deer Management in Wales, contact Barbara Spence on 0300 068 0041, mobile 07767 463736.

The Deer Initiative is a broad partnership of statutory, voluntary and private interests dedicated to "ensuring the delivery of a sustainable, well-managed wild deer population in England and Wales".

More information on the woodlands of Wales is available on

Visit News at FCWales for news, images, press office contact details and links to case studies.

Press office contact: Clive Davies on 0300 068 0061, mobile 07788 190922, email