Steering Group

The purpose of the steering group is to ensure that the momentum and enthusiasm created by the Finding the Common Ground project continues to build via the Common Ground Forum, facilitating constructive working relationships between stakeholders in the upland deer management sector in Scotland and enabling effective collaborative working.

The Project Manager works closely with the steering group to facilitate and support the Common Ground Forum.

Helen MacIntyre – Project Manager, Common Ground Forum

With a background in environmental management, Helen started as secretary of Inveraray & Tyndrum Deer Management Group in 2014. Since then she has worked for several DMGs and for ADMG, working with people from across the upland deer management sector on both a local and national level. She also worked at Dalhousie Estates as their Land and Biodiversity Officer from Jan 2023 to March 2024. She works two days a week as the Forum’s Project Manager.

Current steering group members are:

Alan McDonnell
Conservation Manager, Trees for Life

Member of Scottish Environment LINK Deer Task Force and Convener of LINK Woodland Group, developing a landscape scale proposal for collaboration between nature restoration, landowning and community interests in the central Highlands.

Bruce Sewell
Forest Management Officer, Forestry and Land Scotland

A professional (chartered) forester with 40 years’ deer management experience across Britain. Former chair of East Loch Lomond DMG, member of ADMG Executive Committee and the Wild Deer National Approach Steering Group. Main author of FLS’s Deer Management Strategy. Co-ordinated/managed FLS’s deer culls and planting programmes and is currently involved in strategic deer management with FLS and the Scottish Government.

Colin McLean
Head of Land Management, Cairngorms National Park Authority

Before joining CNPA in 2021, worked at Glen Tanar, balancing nature conservation interests with sporting interests of a traditional Highland estate. He has managed deer for agencies, for pinewood regeneration and for sport stalking.

Deirdre Stewart
Programme Director Scotland, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

An experienced estate manager, having worked in private practice for over 20 years, with a focus on upland sporting and wildlife management. Facilitator to South Grampian Deer Management Group for over a decade. Supporting the CGF through the strategic development of its role and objectives, and delivery of the resulting actions.

Julie Stoneman
Saving Scotland’s Rainforest Project Manager, Plantlife Scotland

Chair of The Common Ground Forum Steering Group – playing a neutral role, bringing project management and facilitation skills. Co-ordinates the Alliance for Scotland’s Rainforest – a voluntary partnership working together so Scotland’s rainforest can thrive once again, which includes managing deer so remaining fragments of rainforest are able to expand and connect.

Lea MacNally
Scottish Gamekeepers Association Committee Member

Now retired, he spent over fifty years as Stalker/Manager on traditional sporting estate Glen Quoich in the West Highlands. He is one of the deer representatives on the Committee of the Scottish Gamekeepers Association.

Paul Roberts
Deer Policy Manager, NatureScot

Worked briefly for the Deer Commission before joining NatureScot in 2010.  Managed a range of projects to better understand lowland deer management and to map and visualise existing data. Currently working with Scottish Government to deliver the Deer Working Group recommendations.

Richard Cooke
Chair, Scottish Venison

Richard has been Chair of Scottish Venison since 2021, and involved with ADMG since its outset in 1992, currently as Vice Chair. Was the first Chair of the Lowland Deer Network Scotland (2011 – 2019), a former Board member of the Deer Commission for Scotland (1996-2002) and former Convener of the National Access Forum. Has been involved in resolving stakeholder conflict in his role on the Moorland Forum and around the development of the outdoor access code.

Tom Turnbull
Chair, Association of Deer Management Groups

Tom has been undertaking deer management in the Highlands for twelve years and is former Chair of the Inveraray and Tyndrum Deer Management Group. He also has a background in farming and land management.