The Deer Initiative

What we do

Developing policy » Overview

Since its creation in 1995 the Deer Initiative has played a key role in co-ordinating the development of policies for the sustainable management of wild deer in England and Wales.

While the Deer Initiative Partner organisations have their own individual interests, the Deer Initiative Partnership exists to try and bring those interests together and facilitate collective action. This includes bringing policies which affect wild deer management into alignment - to influence policy and practice not only in Government but also within the many organisations with whom we work.

In some cases, the Deer Initiative Partnership will develop a common position on an issue. The Deer Accord, for example, sets out the principles for wild deer management agreed by all the Deer Initiative Partners.

The knowledge and experience that the Partnership acquires and shares, including through research, are fed back into the policy development process.

Broadly speaking, our policy development is about applying knowledge to develop our understanding of how sustainable deer management should be done, and then influencing others to follow suit by adopting similar principles. This includes:

  • Proactive development of government policies and legislation
  • Contributing to the development of our Partners’ policies
  • Responses to public consultations

Following on from policy development, we take opportunities to promote our policies on sustainable deer management (including through our Partners and to the public via our own website), and ensure that they are reflected in the advice and guidance given to deer managers and other stakeholders.

Government Policy

In December 2004 Defra and Forestry Commission England published The sustainable management of wild deer populations in England: an action plan. This was drawn up in consultation with stakeholders, including members of the Deer Initiative Partnership, and set out the actions to be taken by the Defra family (then Defra, the Forestry Commission, English Nature and the Countryside Agency, and now comprising Defra, the Forestry Commission and Natural England) up to 2008.

In 2009 the Defra family and the Deer Initiative Partnership conducted a review of the action plan: The sustainable management of wild deer populations in England: a review of 2005-2008 and summary of action to March 2011 (published in February 2010).

In Wales, evidence for deer impacts and the need to manage them is building up. The Deer Initiative is working with the Welsh Assembly Government and other partners to develop a strategy and action plan for wild deer management in Wales (please see our web pages on DI in Wales for further information).

Partnership Policy

The members of the Deer Initiative Partnership have various interests and roles in the management of wild deer, whether they are focused on wildlife and habitat management, on agriculture, deer-vehicle collisions, forestry or the hunting industry. Being involved in the Deer Initiative provides opportunities to share expertise and develop soundly-based, effective policies for sustainable deer management.

The Deer Initiative

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