Consultation on proposals for the deer management strategy

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Closes 2 Sep 2022


We need to do more to sustainably manage deer. The UK deer population is estimated to have increased from 450,000 in the 1970s to two million today. They are now at the highest level for 1000 years.

This brings many risks and issues. It causes a substantial threat to young trees and woodlands, and therefore the government tree planting ambitions. It reduces the final timber crop value by 30-50% through browsing damage. It can cause significant crop and agricultural damage, with some individual landowners having lost over £1 million per year due to deer damage. It can also be harmful to deer themselves, with overpopulation causing malnourishment and allowing diseases to spread more easily.

We are therefore developing a deer management strategy, as we committed to do in the England Tree Action Plan. The strategy will aim to ensure that new and existing woodlands are resilient, sustainable and that wild deer populations do not cause unacceptable levels of impact to them. As part of this work, we are reviewing the evidence base, current barriers to effective management, relevant legislation, regulation and incentives as well as developing sector capacity, skills and markets. While seeking to increase the effectiveness of management, we will maintain high standards of animal welfare, humaneness, and public safety.  

The design of proposals for the strategy have been guided by the broad consensus across all stakeholder audiences from the England Tree Strategy Consultation in 2020, that the deer population is a major challenge to protecting and improving our trees and woodland. All agreed that long-term sustainable solutions are required to ensure that an action plan for trees, woodland and forestry is successful in its aims.

Following on from the strong consensus opinion that a strategy is needed, the purpose of this consultation is to gather views on key proposals being considered for the deer strategy. These views will help shape the final actions that are included in the strategy. The consultation will be open from 04 August to 02 September.

1. What is your correspondence address? Please provide an email address or telephone number unless unable to. If you enter your email address, then you will automatically receive an acknowledgement email when you submit your response.
2. Would you like your response to be confidential?

Confidentiality and data protection information

1. A summary of responses to this consultation will be published on the Government website at: An annex to the consultation summary will list all organisations that responded but will not include personal names, addresses or other contact details. 

1.1 Defra may publish the content of your response to this consultation to make it available to the public without your personal name and private contact details (e.g. home address, email address, etc). 

1.2 If you click on ‘Yes’ in response to the question asking if you would like anything in your response to be kept confidential, you are asked to state clearly what information you would like to be kept as confidential and explain your reasons for confidentiality. The reason for this is that information in responses to this consultation may be subject to release to the public or other parties in accordance with the access to information law (these are primarily the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA)). We have obligations, mainly under the EIRs, FOIA and DPA, to disclose information to particular recipients or to the public in certain circumstances. In view of this, your explanation of your reasons for requesting confidentiality for all or part of your response would help us balance these obligations for disclosure against any obligation of confidentiality. If we receive a request for the information that you have provided in your response to this consultation, we will take full account of your reasons for requesting confidentiality of your response, but we cannot guarantee that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. 

1.3 If you click on ‘No’ in response to the question asking if you would like anything in your response to be kept confidential, we will be able to release the content of your response to the public, but we won’t make your personal name and private contact details publicly available. 

1.4 There may be occasions when Defra will share the information you provide in response to the consultation, including any personal data with external analysts. This is for the purposes of consultation response analysis and provision of a report of the summary of responses only. 

1.5 This consultation is being conducted in line with the Cabinet Office “Consultation Principles” and be found at:

1.6 Please find our latest privacy notice uploaded as a related document alongside our consultation document.  

1.7 If you have any comments or complaints about the consultation process, please address them to: 

 [Consultation Title] 

Consultation Coordinator, Defra 

2nd Floor, Foss House, Kings Pool,  

1-2 Peasholme Green, York, YO1 7PX 

Or email: 


3. What capacity are you responding to the consultation in?
4. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, please tell us what organisation this?
5. If you are responding on behalf of an organisation, how were your answers to the questions below determined? (For example, consultation of staff or members, senior management team input, individual, or other)