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The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, the definition would be primarily for the commission, in the light of the balance of interests on the commission. I hope that by the time the Bill leaves this House the commission will command your Lordships' confidence. It may wish to take on board advice, possibly from Scottish Natural Heritage. A decision has been made that Scottish Natural Heritage should not be the statutory adviser to the commission, in case there were circumstances where SNH was not the appropriate body to use for such advice.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend. On his last point, I repeat that the difference between "damage" and "serious damage" must be in the eye of the beholder. On this occasion, the beholder will be the Red Deer Commission. I was also grateful to hear my noble friend say that the capital value of the estates in question would not be put at risk by this clause without compensation being agreed, if not by the Red Deer Commission then by SNH or the Forestry Authority.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should explain that the SLF and the ADMG agreed that the compulsory powers which might be employed under Clause 4 or the end of Clause 5 simply protect that land against serious damage and should not affect the capital value of the estate. The way my noble friend summarised what I said was different.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I hope that my noble friend does not think I am trying to pick him up on what he says. I would certainly not accuse him of trying to pick me up. I accept that often deer can be reduced on an area, to the benefit of the interests mentioned in the Bill. I accept that the capital value of the estate may not be affected because if there are too

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many deer and you shoot quite a lot of them, their breeding rate goes up and quality can improve. I accept that. However, I have to disagree with the Association of Deer Management Groups and the Scottish Landowners' Federation if the clause could be used in such a way as to reduce the deer population to a level where the land in question no longer had the sporting value of the deer forest or whatever it was before. In those circumstances, I imagine that the matter of a management agreement of some kind would come in with Scottish Natural Heritage.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, with the leave of the House, if what had been a deer estate supporting a certain established number of deer were transformed through the compulsory powers to a different type of estate altogether, supporting half the number of deer, I do not believe that the means for accomplishing that could possibly be the compulsory powers in the Bill, from the way they are phrased. The compulsory powers cannot be employed to change an existing situation or continuing damage; they can be employed to prevent sudden serious damage.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, the word "sudden" is very important. On that basis, I am happy to accept what my noble friend said. I and, I am sure, other noble Lords will read it carefully in Hansard. I am grateful to my noble friends Lord Peel and Lord Glenarthur for supporting me. I am particularly grateful to my noble friend Lord Peel for bringing sheep back into our discussions, even briefly. I should confirm that in the regions of Tayside, Highland and Angus, at the moment there are 3 million heavily subsidised sheep eating at least six times as much as the 250,000 red deer which are principally the object of our discussion on this clause. With that comment, which is perhaps slightly off the centre of the amendments, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 26.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 27:

Page 5, line 16, after first ("or") insert ("taken and").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I spoke to this amendment when I moved Amendment No. 22. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 28 not moved.]

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 29:

Page 6, line 3, at end insert--
("( ) Subsection (6) above does not apply in relation to any control agreement proposed or entered into for the purpose of altering or enhancing the natural heritage.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I spoke to this important amendment when I moved Amendment No. 25. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove moved Amendment No. 30:

After Clause 5, insert the following new clause--

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Exclusion of deer from their natural habitat

(" . Where there is exclusion of deer from their natural habitat due to enclosure of land previously unenclosed, the owner or occupier of that land shall take action to reduce the deer population accordingly.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the principle of this amendment was introduced in Committee on 6th March under Amendment No. 37. It received considerable support and sympathy. My initial concern was related to the increasing activities of forestry, but I feel that it is a principle that should apply across all instances where there is exclusion of deer from their natural habitat. I understand that the Government seek to establish powers for the Forestry Commission to refuse public support until such action is taken. While that power would be welcome, I feel that it is more appropriate to seek inclusion of this principle within the Bill. One can envisage other scenarios in the future such as super-quarries--which are certainly a topical issue in certain parts of northern Scotland--which would deprive deer of their habitat but where the Forestry Commission would have no jurisdiction. Thus, it is important to safeguard the natural heritage, deer welfare and agricultural interests. If the Forestry Commission has no power to do that, we should include a provision in deer legislation.

Furthermore, given that deer roam from mountain to glen there are situations where the enclosure of land will not immediately exclude deer, as they are not there at that particular time. However, that does not mean that there will not be an imbalance and potential pressure on grazing and welfare problems at a later stage in the year, particularly in the winter. By placing this amendment within Clause 5 on control agreements, it would be possible to put the onus on the commission to assess the impact of the enclosure on deer populations. Further, it places an onus on it to take forward a control agreement with other parties to reduce the deer population accordingly. I beg to move.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I should just briefly like to support this amendment, as I did in our Committee proceedings. It seems absolutely reasonable that if land that was open to the deer as their natural habitat becomes enclosed for other purposes, whoever is in charge of that operation ought to have the responsibility of reducing the number of deer.

I feel sure that, as the deer management groups and the Deer Commission become ever more professional in their knowledge of the numbers of deer that we have and where they move--and, as I hope, if my tagging amendment is accepted later on about the numbers of deer that we are actually killing every year--they should be able to form a good judgment as to the numbers of deer which ought to be excluded in the circumstances envisaged by this amendment.

I would just mention, too, that one of the problems in recent years of the deer population expanding is precisely that large areas have been enclosed for forestry. The deer on the whole have been driven out and have sometimes gone on to do damage elsewhere.

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That is a situation which is now coming under control, and I feel sure that this amendment is in the spirit of that improving position. I support the amendment.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, for moving this amendment, the principle of which we fully support, as I stated in Committee.

It is a truism of the problems that face deer managers in Scotland today that the range over which deer are allowed is ever changing. I remember it was a point made by my noble friend Lord Woolton at Second Reading.

Our hope was to find the easiest way of achieving the objective of this amendment. Our position is that there is no need to change the legislation in order to achieve what the noble Lord's amendment seeks. We have decided that the Forestry Authority, on deer culling measures required before enclosure, will henceforth adapt its procedures to make compliance with Deer Commission advice a precondition of approval of woodland grant scheme applications. Such a change can be made by administrative means, and no amendment to this Bill is therefore required.

Applicants will be expected to carry out all pre-enclosure control measures prescribed by the Deer Commission on their land before an application is finally approved. In order to match the migratory patterns of deer, control measures required should be taken at the time of year when the deer are present on the land in question.

If necessary, the Deer Commission may be prepared to promote a voluntary control agreement, as provided for by Clause 5 of the Bill, to allow action to be taken in the most effective manner and, if necessary, provide for the interests of neighbouring land managers to be taken into account.

The effects of this change may, in certain circumstances, mean that woodland establishment is delayed by a short period to allow deer control to proceed. However, such minor delays as may occur will be more than compensated for by the confidence this change will create that the knock-on effects of enclosure have been anticipated before the work takes place; and that as a result no restorative action needs to be taken subsequently when the deer have been displaced.

I am grateful that, both at the Committee stage and today, the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, raised this issue. It has prompted us to amend the arrangements we have for woodland grant schemes where this issue is relevant.

If substantial enclosure was taking place for a reason other than forestry, we would expect the Deer Commission to use its voluntary control agreement provisions and powers to promote such schemes to make similar arrangements to those I just outlined as being attached to woodland grant scheme applications.

8.15 p.m.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister. I am glad he included in the latter part of his remarks the reference that I had

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made to quarrying in parts of the Highlands. It appears that he has gone a long way to meet the desires of the Committee. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 [Deer killed under authority of Commission]:

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