Terms of Reference

Lowland Deer Network Scotland
Terms of Reference 2024 – 2026
LDNS is a national stakeholder forum for lowland deer managers to interact, engage with
and contribute to ongoing thinking and policy development for deer management across
lowland Scotland.

Purpose of the Network
The aim of the Network is to promote the welfare and sound management of wild deer, in
balance with their habitat, through a collaborative and co-ordinated approach across the
Scottish lowlands.

The objectives of the Network are:
i) Provide leadership in bringing diverse interests together in the common purpose
of deer management which meets both public and private objectives; especially
enhancing biodiversity, deer welfare, public safety, economic benefit, prevention
of damage and food safety.
ii) Establish communication with all individuals, organisations, business interests
and public agencies, including local authorities, with a direct interest in the
management of wild deer in the Scottish lowland areas.
iii) Promote best practice and competence in deer management and continuing
professional development.
iv) Provide clarity on what effective deer management and targeted culling looks to
enhance biodiversity and reduce negative impacts on woodland, agriculture and
public safety.
v) Improve public understanding of the purposes, needs and benefits of deer
management in both the wider countryside and peri urban environment.
vi) Articulate the interests of deer managers to Government and its Agencies.


  • Participation is free and open to anyone with any stakeholder interest in deer
    management in the Scottish lowland areas.
  • This can include anyone who is involved with or interested in deer management.
  • Stakeholders in the forum will consult and represent the views from a personal /
    organisational perspective. To widen the community of interest, it is anticipated that
    stakeholders will also feed back to their sector the key issues arising through the
  • Stakeholders will need to submit their email address in order to receive
    communications, it is a condition that by submitting their emails they permit this email
    to be retained for such purposes. Stakeholders may unsubscribe at any time.
    Forum Structure
  • A Management Committee will oversee administration of the Forum and will include all
    elected office bearers and a representative from each of the four supporting organisations –
    NatureScot, Scottish Forestry, Forestry Land Scotland, and Transport Scotland.
  • Co-opted Representatives – the management Committee may co-opt individuals with
    relevant specialist skills as may be appropriate.
  • An independent Chair will lead the forum supported by a Vice Chair and other elected
    members as applicable. Replacement Chair / Vice Chair positions will be reviewed annually
    with potential candidates considered by the Management Committee.
    The current Chair, elected under the previous LDNS structure, will continue for an initial 3-
    year tenure period from 2024 until April 2026.
  • Administration
    Chair – To ensure opportunity for open and transparent discussion during forum meetings
    and to integrate LDNS into related deer forums across Scotland, (Annex 2 Roles &
    Vice Chair – To provide support to the chairman / cover for any absences, (Annex 2 Roles &
    Secretariat – Provided by NatureScot to support function of the forum – meeting
    arrangements, note taking, circulation and publishing, communications and expenses.
  • Financial Arrangements
    NatureScot will allocate a dedicated LDNS project fund to support the function of the forum,
    LDNS shall perform the administration of the fund and submit accounts.
    This funding shall:
    i) Meet all meeting costs in terms of venue hire and hospitality costs.
    ii) Meet any associated administrative costs linked with organisation, expense
    payments and communications.
    iii) Maintain and manage the LDNS website.
    iv) Maintain and manage a contact list of stakeholders.
    v) Where specific input into forum discussions by specialist advisors is required,
    associated costs will be met by NatureScot.
    vi) Further contributions either through direct financial support to facilitate forum
    discussions or payment in kind through staff support can be considered by other
    agency partners on an annual basis subject to the annual meeting programme
    and thematic focus.
    in addition:
    vii) The Chairman and Vice-Chairman will be entitled to receive an Honorarium
    subject to approval by the management committee.
    viii) Associated expenses for chairmanship of the forum and for attendance at other
    stakeholder groups / meetings will have an annually cap and this will be reviewed
    and agreed annually.
  • Forum meeting structure
    LDNS will meet three times per year using a digital platform or, on a regional basis across
    the Scottish lowlands and have one annual summit to be held in central Scotland. Any
    urgent matters can be addressed through email or teleconference in the interim.
  • Minutes of the regional forum meetings will be drafted by the Secretariat; provided by
    NatureScot and approved by the chair and management committee members within two
    weeks of the event.
  • Meeting structure and subsequent discussions can be developed around common interest
    themes linked to the prevailing focus. This could include, but is not restricted to, consultation
    on proposed changes to deer legislation and policy development, woodland expansion and
    models of deer management, skills uplift, training and promotion of best practice, venison
    subsidy, female deer culling incentives and larder infrastructure pilot schemes.
  • Meetings will be held under Chatham House Rules – Participants are free to use the
    information received and discussed at meetings but neither the identity nor affiliation of the
    contributors may be revealed.
    Notes of the meeting will reflect a summary of key points and will be anonymised and made
    publicly available on the LDNS website.
  • The Forum will act as safe space for independent open and honest discussion. The role of
    NatureScot is to provide the necessary background support and funding to allow this to
  • Timescales
    The LDNS forum will commence under this new format from 1st April 2024 and the Terms of
    Reference is to be originally set on a 2 year basis with a full review after year 1 by the
    executive committee following the annual summit.
  • Signed by
    Jamie Hammond
    Deer Operations Manager, NatureScot
    Signature Date 17.4.2024
    John Bruce
    Chairman, Lowland Deer Network Scotland
    Signature Date 17 April 2024
    Alasdair Young
    Vice Chairman, Lowland Deer Network Scotland
    Signature Date 17th April 2024