Decision is nonsensical

In response to the recent articles relating to Forestry Commission sporting leases, who in their right mind could think it is a good idea to take back the Forestry Commission shooting licences and put the control of the deer cull in the hands of contract shooters?

The lease-holders I know are all experienced and considerate sporting people and take deer control and firearm safety as a priority, not for the financial gain, but for the love of the sport. Contract shooters, 
on the other hand, are looking at deer as pound notes and will, I am sure, have little consideration for a clean and effective kill. This payment per deer shot could be open to abuse as deer brought to the larder could have been shot outwith FC lands and no-one would know.

Not only that, but the potential for taking a risky shot because of the financial gain, especially at night when using a spotlight and having little knowledge of the topography, could be catastrophic.

The lease-holders have invested time, money and effort in creating and getting to know their forest beats only to have all their hard work taken away for the sake of so-called deer control. Having been involved in deer control most of my life and living in the area, deer numbers are by no means out of control as many so-called experts allege. I am not the only one who feels the deer population in Galloway has already been dramatically reduced over the past 40 years. In fact, in those days it was not unusual to see deer of most species at least two or three times a week just driving around the area. I have, however, found that over the past few years that this is no longer the case.

The number of Forestry Commission wildlife rangers have in the past few years been reduced. The FC somehow believes it far cheaper to go down the road of contract cullers thinking this is the best way forward. Taking away the private leases not only reduces much needed forestry income but the bright spark in charge considers paying out hundreds of pounds is far better than receiving it. Unbelievable!

These FC wildlife experts have not taken into consideration that this is such a valuable resource, not only to the Forestry Commission, but to the area in general, especially in this tough economic climate.

Shooting people throughout the country inject millions of pounds into the economy. Not including the influx of money brought to this country by continental clients who have, in the past, enjoyed the hospitality and expertise of most forest rangers and, I am sure, they have received as warm a welcome from the lease-holders.

This culture that the Forestry Commission seems now to have of shooting deer including out of season and at night with the aid of spotlights, is to eradicate deer from its lands. Be in no doubt: this is eradication. The FC may tell you that it only takes out the old and the weak but it is, when shooting at night, almost impossible to do so. The culling of deer has now also been taken on board by the RSPB in its Wood of Cree reserve. There is a little deer damage in the Wood of Cree, but unless the RSPB considers this reserve a commercial woodland, culling is unnecessary. Has the RSPB not thought of creating some deer glades to help reduce the little damage that is taking place? It appears its intention is to control deer numbers but it is, however, slow to control any other predators.

Name and address 


We need more investment

The renewables industry in Scotland has done a fantastic job and there is ambition for more. However, for the UK to get the further investment it needs, two things are essential.

First, that the authorities clearly explain to consumers the impact on household bills of energy policy. Over the next few months, people need the energy issues explained properly and politics should be taken out of the debate.

This is a once in lifetime major energy investment to meet the government’s decarbonisation aims and result in the industry creating tens of thousands of jobs across the country.

Secondly, the government, policy-makers, the regulator and industry collectively need to address the impending energy gap. We must take stock of the many and sometimes competing policies, prioritise the key issues, and create a solid transition plan for moving to a lower carbon economy in a way that does not threaten security of supply or demand, gives confidence to customers and focuses on the affordability of energy to households, and the competitiveness of British industry.

Angela Knight CBE,

Chief executive, Energy UK, www.energy-uk.org.uk.


Disabled are put at risk

Last week the Care Quality Commission released a shocking report which said that in 78 out of 151 NHS areas, people with dementia who lived in care homes were more likely to be admitted to hospital for an avoidable reason than people without the condition. What a terrible indictment of our care system.

Vitalise is a disability charity which provides respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers.

This report comes as no surprise to us, since one of our own studies showed six out of 10 carers suffer worry and guilt at the prospect of sending their disabled, frail or elderly loved ones into residential care, even for a few days.

At Vitalise, we know carers’ worries can be eased if they are confident their loved ones will receive good care. If we are to avoid a crisis in social care, the issue of quality in respite care needs to be addressed.

Colin Brook,