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Baroness Robson of Kiddington: My Lords, I too thank the Minister for the amendment. He may remember that I was one of those who spoke in favour of the proposal. It is tremendously important that the welfare of deer will appear in Clause 1 under the functions of the deer commission. We are grateful to the Minister for introducing the amendment.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: My Lords, I too wish to thank the noble Earl. It is very clever of him to have come up with a solution. We have all been trying to find a way of introducing welfare into Clause 1 without any unwanted consequences. We are all grateful to him for having been the one who managed to do it.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I shall pass on the compliments paid by the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun of Abernethy, to the draftsman of the amendment. It underlines the concern that we have had throughout the different stages of the Bill. We have all agreed that welfare is vital to the management of deer in Scotland. We wished to ensure that the way that concept was introduced onto the face of the Bill would not lead in later years to a misuse of our intentions. The noble Baroness, Lady Robson of Kiddington, was, I think, the first to mention the matter at Second Reading--possibly

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the noble Lord, Lord Carmichael, did so too--but it has been a continuing theme and I am glad that we have managed to reach a successful conclusion.

My noble friend Lord Pearson of Rannoch suggests that my reference to enclosures was perhaps somewhat euphemistic. I have heard since Report stage about the use of enclosures, described to the SSPCA, alongside the Red Deer Commission, for the treatment of warble fly and other problems that deer suffer from. My understanding is that the SSPCA was quite impressed with the way in which enclosures could be used in those circumstances. However, I take note of the points the noble Lord made. I can assure him that the SSPCA will be consulted in the drawing up of the code of practice.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, I think my noble friend means that the ADMG will be consulted.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that correction.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 2:


Page 1, line 17, after ("matters") insert (", including their welfare,").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I announced at Report that I would be tabling amendments to stipulate that the proportion of the commission chosen to represent the deer management category should be chosen from among nominees of organisations representing deer managers.

Noble Lords: Amendment No. 2 has been spoken to.

The Earl of Lindsay: My Lords, I apologise to the House. I am speaking to Amendment No. 4. I spoke to Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 when I moved Amendment No. 1. Along with Amendment No. 2 therefore I also wish to move Amendment No. 3:


Page 1, line 17, leave out ("in Scotland").

The Earl of Lindsay: I beg to move the two amendments en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

The Earl of Lindsay moved Amendment No. 4:


Page 2, line 24, after ("and,") insert ("subject to subsection (3B)(c) below").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I repeat my apologies to the House. My mistake must have had something to do with my being in Luxembourg last night and not getting any sleep. That means that I am not running with the normal procedures of the House as efficiently as I usually try to do.

I announced at Report that I would be tabling amendments to stipulate that the proportion of the commission chosen to represent the deer management category should be chosen from among nominees of organisations representing deer managers. The amendments before your Lordships are designed to have that effect.

The reason for the amendments is that concerns have been expressed that an unreasonable Secretary of State may decide to choose people to represent this category

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who do not have the confidence of deer managers throughout the country. To do so would be a foolish act indeed, since without that confidence the commission will not be able to do its job effectively at all. For the most part the commission will not be able to act without the agreement and active co-operation of those who manage deer throughout Scotland. Nevertheless I recognise the validity of the point being made and have therefore decided that the best way to tackle the concern would be to ensure that such persons are chosen from among the nominees of the organisations which represent deer managers.

It may be helpful if I explain that the phrasing of the amendment is designed to ensure that organisations which represent those with a primary interest in the management of deer are asked to provide such nominations. That clearly means that the deer management groups, presumably represented through the association, would be consulted.

Since we have defined deer management to include the sporting interest in deer, the representative bodies involved in that side of deer management will be included. We have not been able to stipulate the names of such organisations in the Bill because such bodies are non-statutory. But the intention and effect are clear.

The amendments will have no impact on the way the rest of the commission is chosen nor on the general principle I have elucidated from the start of our deliberations that the commission must be a balanced body which has the confidence of all those affected by deer throughout Scotland. The reason for including special rules in respect of the deer managers' category is because of the central role deer play in their land use practices, which is not generally true for the other categories. Nevertheless, the Secretary of State will be obliged to consult relevant bodies from all possible sectors before selecting members of the commission and will have the results of the consultation before him when decisions are made.

I am confident that the appointment provisions as now amended will provide a more flexible basis for choosing the best available candidates to serve on the commission in future while maintaining and, it is hoped, developing the level of confidence that exists throughout the country in the commission and its works. I beg to move.

Lord Glenarthur: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Lindsay has recognised that the composition of the commission was one of the key areas, if not the key area, which concerned a number of noble Lords as the Bill has been debated in your Lordships' House, and the key to the success of the commission in the future, and of all that the Bill contains.

The amendment that he puts forward today meets as many of the anxieties that I can think of within the bounds of practicality. For my part I am extremely grateful to the Minister for his efforts in bringing the amendment forward.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for delineating specific groups that he will consult. I hope that the commission does not

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become too cosy, and that people in Scotland other than those who have a definite connection with deer and the forest will have an opportunity to be on the commission.

I am sure that the Minister will remember the plea made by me and by the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, for some public representation. We referred to people from outside bodies. We suggested that CoSLA, the Crofters' Commission or some such body might be included. The amendment makes it possible to include a wider range than might be considered ideal by those who are concerned only with the estates.

4.15 p.m.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, again I am very grateful to the Minister for the amendments that he has tabled and for the way that he has introduced them. I speak to Amendment No. 9 tabled in my name. Its purpose is to clarify that the one-third of the new commission which the Secretary of State must appoint from nominees of organisations representing deer managers must be put forward by organisations which have deer management as their primary purpose. This may already be within the legal drafting. If it is, I apologise for taking two minutes of your Lordships' time.

The point I am trying to make is that, although I have been a life member of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for many years and have a high regard for that organisation (except perhaps when some of its investigations are a little too zealous), I would not expect the RSPB to be among the nominating organisations in this part of the Bill. The RSPB manages deer on several of its reserves, perhaps most notably Abernethy, but deer management is not its principal purpose. The National Trust for Scotland would be in the same category, I suppose, although one should exonerate it from any charge of over-zealous investigation.

The amendment has been tabled to confirm on the face of the Bill what the Minister said on 21st March at col. 1424 of the Official Report at Report stage. He said:


    "The aim behind the proposed amendment at Third Reading is that the Association of Deer Management Groups will be the nominating organisation".
My noble friend then wisely went on to say that life is never as simple as that, especially when legal drafting enters upon the scene. Of course, we all accept that.

Apart from the Association of Deer Management Groups, there are other organisations which have as their primary purpose the management of deer. The British Deer Society springs most obviously to mind, as does the British Field Sports Society. The Scottish Landowners' Federation might also be a candidate, especially when it is representing Highland landowners. But I am afraid that it does also busy itself with advice on things like sheep and the unfortunate grants which go with them. Therefore I am not sure that the SLF maintains quite the pristine purity of deer management which my amendment seeks.

I certainly would not expect to see the deer farmers brought within this clause because I should have thought that they would have come under the agricultural provisions of the clause. My expectation, especially

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after what my noble friend said when introducing his amendments, is that it is in effect the ADMG which will be consulted. It can then consult the BDS, the BFSS, the SLF and such other bodies as may appear relevant.


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