Focus is on deer role

Deer collisions are a cause for concern on the South Deeside Road.
Deer collisions are a cause for concern on the South Deeside Road.

Over recent years there has been increasing concern about the number of road traffic accidents involving deer in Aberdeenshire, and especially on Deeside.

A number of these have been serious and have resulted in human fatality or serious personal injury.

The Wildlife Operations Unit of Scottish Natural Heritage wants to try and explore what may be the factors responsible for the number of accidents and to see what mitigation might be appropriate - whether through increased deployment of warning signs, roadside fencing, clearance of scrub from roadside verges or whatever.

In an initial analysis of accidents reported over the last 10 years two particular ‘hotspots’ have been noted immediately to the west of Aberdeen at Peterculter and Cults, with incidents particularly notable on the South Deeside Road.

In such instances the former Deer Commission for Scotland used to convene local advisory panels in order to discover from local people how seriously they perceived the issue of deer on the road, and also to take advice from local stakeholders what they felt might be appropriate solutions to the problems perceived.

The Deer Commission no longer exists as such, but it has been decided to try and ‘copy’ the approach in this case by holding a public meeting and inviting comment and suggestion.

Professor Rory Putman has been asked to organise and chair this meeting, offering a brief presentation to show what information the unit has on deer vehicle collisions in the area and then inviting comments and suggestions from local stakeholders.

The meeting will be held at 2.30 p.m. in the Ranger Base at Lochinch Farm, near Cove on March 5.

The meeting is intended to be directed towards those who may be able to play some active role in future mitigation, and thus will be attended (by invitation) by representatives from the Road Safety Departments/Traffic Management teams of Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire County Councils, representatives of the local Police and Police wildlife officers, representatives of Forestry Commission Scotland and the Lowland Deer Network, as well as, it is hoped, representatives of the two Community Councils in the areas affected.

Professor Putman said: “We will be happy to welcome other interested members of the public and the local community who may be interested or may feel they have something to contribute in this discussion.

The spirit of the meeting however is very much focused on exploring possible measures which may be taken - and for which appropriate funding may be available - to reduce the frequency of deer-vehicle collisions in the area.”