On behalf of the Forestry Commission and the Deer Initiative Powlett and Associates Ltd successfully developed and drafted The Wild Venison Project. This received over £500,000 in funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) funding between March 2010 and December 2013 to enable the facilitation of the development of a wild venison supply chain from the countryside in the East of England to end users both in the region and abroad, through a suite of activities that will support the sustainable management of woodland and improved storage, processing and distribution facilities.
The Wild Venison Project arose out of the need to manage deer more effectively across the East of England region by creating a sustainable wild venison supply chain. Providing financial support to help deerstalkers and landowners with the purchase of equipment for storage, processing and marketing initiatives was the incentive for the project. Its additional objectives included a reduction in deer damage to woodlands and to agricultural crops as well as reducing deer vehicle collisions.
The project supported 44 businesses and enabled the creation of 9.75 full-time equivalent jobs. Sales to venison outlets increased significantly, with an 84% increase in sales between 2009 and 2013. It also supported the management of deer across a total of 68,830 ha of land in the East of England, with 6,438 ha of all woodland including 1,640 ha of woodland SSSI, covering 17 sites; the target for SSSI management was 1300ha.