Wild deer may be culled in much larger numbers across lowland and urban Scotland to limit their rapidly increasing population and reverse a steep rise in road accidents, according to the Guardian.
Wildlife experts say the growth in new lowland and urban forests and green spaces has led to a surge in deer numbers, which has increased the rate of crashes and collisions on motorways and major roads in heavily-populated areas.
A recent study for Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Government wildlife agency, estimated there are at least 7,000 collisions and crashes caused by deer and at least 65 injuries for motorists across Scotland a year; many more than in previous years.
According to the Guardian, experts fear there is a much greater risk of driver fatalities and multiple-vehicle crashes after the study found that major roads and motorways in central and lowland Scotland had become hotspots for deer collisions.
In many of these areas, millions of pounds are being spent creating new green spaces and woodlands which are perfect environments for deer. Local councils and agencies that run parks and new forestry projects are being warned that they will need to introduce deer management policies and action plans, including culling, in areas where deer have never previously been a problem.
Robbie Kernahan, a deer specialist with SNH, said: "We’re actively encouraging, indeed funding, a lot of the green network because of the benefits they bring to biodiversity, but it has to be done in way which is mindful of the needs of all species.
"There are areas, particularly cities and towns, where deer numbers are increasing and the impact for the public, for example road traffic accidents but also damage to gardens and contact with dogs and cats, is rising all the time.
"Our feeling is that we need a co-ordinated approach and a good level of communication to anticipate problems before they arise rather than be caught on the back foot when they do arise."
Click here to read the full Guardian report.