Section 26 – Deer management etc.
174.Section 26 of the Act amends SNH’s general functions and duties in relation to deer management under sections 1, 3 and 4 of the Deer (Scotland) Act 1996. Subsection (2) amends section 1 of the 1996 Act to require SNH to take into account the interests of public safety and the need to manage the deer population in urban and peri-urban areas when exercising its functions. This adds to the current factors that must be taken into account (size and density of the deer population and its impact on natural heritage, the needs of agriculture and forestry and the interests of owners and occupiers of land).
175.Subsection (3)(a) amends section 3(1) of the 1996 Act to confer power on SNH to assist any person or organisation in reaching agreements with third parties. This adds to the powers currently set out in section 3 of the 1996 Act.
176.Subsection (3)(b) inserts a new section 3(3) into the 1996 Act. This imposes a duty on public bodies and office holders to have regard in exercising their functions to any guidance or advice issued by SNH relating to the conservation, control or sustainable management of deer or to any other aspect of the SNH’s deer functions.
177.Subsection (4) amends section 4(1) of the 1996 Act to remove a limit on the number of members of a panel appointed under that section.
178.Subsection (5) adds public safety as a ground for obtaining authorisation for the taking or killing deer at night and also changes the threshold in the existing ground for such authorisation being given from ‘serious damage’ to crops, pasture, human or animal foodstuffs or to woodland to ‘damage’ to crops, pasture, human or animal foodstuffs or to woodland.