While the government and its partner organisations have a role to play in providing the right framework to support sustainable management of deer, primary responsibility for their management lies with individual landowners and managers, and local communities. Where deer are causing economic or environmental damage or representing a health and safety risk, landowners and occupiers are encouraged to participate in the running of local deer management groups, or to set one up where a group does not already exist. These groups comprise all those who have an interest in a particular locality and, where necessary, may involve a managed cull to reduce population densities.
On the question of grey squirrels the government is committed to working with land owners and other organisations as part of its strategy to support targeted grey squirrel control in the UK. Defra and the devolved administrations are signatories to the UK Squirrel Accord, which aims to promote a coordinated approach to controlling grey squirrels and securing the future of our red squirrels and woodlands. Working as part of the UK Squirrel Accord enables the government to deliver on its grey squirrel action plan for England announced by the Forestry Commission in December 2014. As part of the government’s long term strategy for controlling grey squirrel populations, Defra has provided funding to the Animal and Plant Health Agency to explore the potential for developing a fertility control method for grey squirrels.