Deer cull is defended by body as ‘necessary’
Woodland body Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) have defended culling red deer on land around Loch Arklet in the Trossachs.
The government body pointed out the cull was necessary because a “record high” amount of the animals is negatively affecting habitats within Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park (LLTNP). It was therefore vital that numbers are reduced to protect forests, peatlands and designated sites.
FLS had been responding to a complaint from an Inversnaid resident who is concerned about the amount of deer culling being carried out in the vicinity.
After spotting deer carcasses on the B829 road to the village last Sunday afternoon, February 5, while out driving, Lee-anne Robinson told the Observer: “Myself and three children were in my vehicle when we came across deer stalkers dragging deer carcasses across the road in front of us.
“Obviously the timing was unfortunate, but it was in plain view of passers-by on a popular tourist route. I think that’s unacceptable.”
Forestry and Land Scotland’s Aberfoyle office had told Ms Robinson last October, in a response to a complaint, that it uses professional and highlytrained deer controllers to carry out the work.
FLS stated: “All our culling practices are in line with industry best practice, the Deer Act, and are licenced by [natural heritage body] Naturescot. Deer welfare is a very high priority for FLS when conducting any culling operations with the deer culling at Loch Arklet being no different.”
The response to Ms Robinson’s complaint to FLS, passed to the Observer, added: “Across the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and indeed much of Scotland deer are currently at record high numbers with recent evidence showing there is over one million deer currently living in Scotland.
“These record high numbers are causing large amounts of negative impacts on Scotland’s habitats including our forests, our peatlands, and our designated sites.
“This is also true for the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, so it is vitally important that deer numbers are reduced to more sustainable levels to allow these habitats to thrive and improve.
“Thriving habitats, woodland expansion and healthy peatlands will also help towards the climate emergency by locking up carbon and helping reverse the trend of the climate emergency.
“FLS are working in partnership with many other landowners in the LLTNP, including the LLTNP authority, to work at a landscape scale to try and improve the habitats across the park area.
The area around Loch Arklet is part of the Great Trossachs Forest where FLS are working with local partners to create new native woodlands, restore peatlands and enhance the local biodiversity.
“To achieve this deer numbers must be controlled at a level that allows this to happen.
“Large, fenced enclosures were initially created to allow young, planted trees and regeneration to recover from deer impacts however deer fences especially at altitude are prone to damage by weather, being buried by snow and battered by high winds.
“It is therefore extremely difficult to ensure these fences are always 100% deer proof and the preferred option would be to have lower deer numbers across the park, negating the need for fencing that at times don’t fit in this landscape.
“With the fence above Loch Arklet being damaged and thus allowing large numbers of deer to move into these sensitive habitats FLS must control these deer to prevent damage and loss to the works we have already completed.
“FLS plan to further enhance the woodlands with potentially more planting of native trees and allowing regeneration to further expand.”
NHS Forth Valley has vowed to ensure everyone within the community is treated equally as part of a major venture.
Chair Janie Mccusker and Chief Executive Cathie Cowan presented their reworked equality and inclusion strategy to a recent meeting of the board.
They said:“we are taking this opportunity to review and refresh our Equality and Inclusion Strategy to reflect the many changes, innovations and improvements we have made during the past two years.
“Covid-19 has tested everyone’s ability to address the differing needs of our local population while responding rapidly to challenging new situations.
“We know the pandemic has increased the challenges faced by many people who were already deeply affected by health and economic inequalities.
“Our Equality and Inclusion Strategy sets out our ambition‘to shape the future of health and care by ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion is at the heart of what we do’and outlines how we intend to drive forward this important work.
“We are in no doubt that equality, diversity and inclusion is a collective responsibility, the Board also has a duty to ensure this work is at the heart of our business to help create an environment that allows everyone to thrive and to feel valued and respected
“Equality, diversity and inclusion matters greatly to us as an organisation. There is no place in NHS Forth Valley for any form of discrimination and we want to be recognised as an organisation that values equality, diversity and inclusion in our workforce, for the people who use our services and in the local communities we serve. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to make healthy choices, live healthy lives and have access to high quality health and care services.
“Although Covid-19 started as a health crisis it has also impacted on every aspect of our lives, including the economy.
“The global pandemic has deepened existing differences in the health of our population, and it is more important than ever to create opportunities to improve health and wellbeing.
“Our recovery, remobilisation and redesign plans therefore seek to address the inequalities gap in a number of our communities, working closely with our partners we will use our‘anchor’ community wealth building influence to help rebuild the local economy.
“We are committed to delivering personalised care where patients are involved in decisions about their care and treatment and set the outcomes and goals that matter to them.”