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PE01490: Control of wild goose numbers

Rural Affairs

Petitioner: Patrick Krause on behalf of Scottish Crofting Federation

Status:
Lodged

Date Lodged: 01 September 2013

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to address the problems created by increasing populations of wild geese in the crofting areas as a matter of priority; reassess its decision to stop funding existing goose management programmes, and assign additional resources to Crop Protection and Adaptive Management programmes to ensure this threat to the future of crofting is averted.

Petition History:

A further 259 hard copy signatures have been collected.

Summary:

29 October 2013: The Committee took evidence from Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, and Roddy MacDonald, Board Member, Scottish Crofting Federation. The Committee agreed to refer the petition, under Rule 15.6.2, to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. Link to Official Report 29 October 2013 (517KB pdf)

27 November 2013: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee agreed to write to the Minister, relevant local authorities, the Crofting Commission, Scottish Crofting Federation and the Wildfowl and
Wetlands Trust for further information. Link to Official Report 27 November 2013 (391KB pdf)

2 April 2014: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee agreed to take oral evidence from stakeholders and the Minister for Environment and Climate Change on the issues raised in the petition and in
the written evidence received from stakeholders and from the Scottish Government. Link to Official Report 2 April 2014 (294KB pdf)

18 June 2014: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee took evidence in round table format on a Petition by Patrick Krause on behalf of the Scottish Crofting Federation on control of wild goose numbers from—

Patrick Krause, Chief Executive, Scottish Crofting Federation;
Andrew Bauer, Deputy Director of Policy, National Farmers Union Scotland;
Councillor Uisdean Robertson, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar;
Dr Baz Hughes, Head of Species Conservation Department, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust;
Marina Curran-Colthart, Local Biodiversity Officer, Argyll and Bute Council;
Dr Paul Walton, Species and Habitats Policy Officer, RSPB Scotland. 

Link to Official Report 18 June 2014 (356KB pdf)

25 June 2014: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee took evidence from Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Andrew Taylor, Policy Officer, Wildlife Management, Scottish Government and Eileen Stewart, Head of Policy and Advice, Scottish Natural Heritage. Link to Official Report 25 June 2014 (384KB pdf)

6 August 2014 (in private): The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee agreed its letter to the Scottish Government on the following petition— PE01490 by Patrick Krause on behalf of the Scottish Crofting Federation on control of wild goose numbers.The letter will be published on the Commitee's webpage in due course.

12 November 2014: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee considered its responses from the Scottish Government and the petitioner on the following petition— PE01490 by Patrick Krause on behalf of the Scottish Crofting Federation on control of wild goose numbers. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government for further information. Link to Official Report 12 November 2014

1 April 2015: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee considered correspondence on petition PE01490 by Patrick Krause on behalf of the Scottish Crofting Federation, on control of wild goose numbers. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government seeking additional information in relation to the points raised by the Petitioner. Link to Official Report 1 April 2015

24 June 2015: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee considered petition PE01490 by Patrick Krause, on behalf of the Scottish Crofting Federation, on the control of wild geese numbers. The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government asking it to undertake an urgent independent review. Link to Official Report 24 June 2015

7 October 2015: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee agreed to keep the petition open and consider the next steps as part of its forthcoming work programme discussions. Link to Official Report 7 October 2015

9 March 2016: The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage. The Committee agreed to keep the petition open and recommend to its successor committee, via the Legacy Report, that it may wish to consider examining the outcome of the review of wild goose management by Scottish Natural Heritage, with a view to deciding what further action, if any, should be taken on the petition. Link to Official Report 9 March 2016    

Link to Rural Affairs, Climate Change and the Environment Committee's consideration of the petition. 

Wild goose numbers are out of control in Scotland and pose, what many believe to be, the greatest threat to island crofting. For example, in 1986 it was estimated that there were 150 breeding pairs of greylags in the Western Isles. Today acurate counting puts the number in the Uists above 10,000; and the situation is similar in other parts of the crofting areas. Yet despite these vaste numbers geese are protected by law and the Scottish Government is cutting back on goose control programmes. Crofters and thier families are now the endangered ones.

Time something was done to keep number of geese under control.

Roddy Morrison

19:08 on 01 Sep 2013

There are hundreds of geese on Sanday & they are destroying our barley crops - we're losing tonnes of barley because they're eating it. We've tried everything to keep them off - gas guns, scarecrows, electric fencing, balloons, CDs, abandoned vehicles in the fields, shooting them - but nothing seems to work. The numbers are getting more & more every year. Something really needs to be done to cut back the numbers of them. We can't afford to plant barley to feed the geese. They wreck our grass fields before we get our young lambs on them in the spring time too, as they are on Sanday all year round now, and they destroy our fields of new grass.

Margaret Dearness

18:28 on 01 Sep 2013

There was that many geese landing in the fields around Newtonmore in the spring they were hitting the power lines at dusk, the village was getting power cuts every night. SSE had to put disc's on the line to try and prevent this. Not to mention the amount of grass they were eating.

Viv Montgomery

17:13 on 01 Sep 2013

The damage to grazing land and crops by the geese is enormouse, so decisive action on controlling their numbers is required, they are no longer transitory but are here all year round.

George Simpson

14:09 on 01 Sep 2013

spring and autumn grazings are now getting ravaged leading to a 8-9month winter with no grazing for stock.Our fields are the last jumping off point for migrating birds.The greylags are now robbing grass from the other migrating geese species before they make their long journeys north and the spring return

david roberts

13:49 on 01 Sep 2013

I have seen this problem far too often and I would like some action to be taken

John Lawrie

2:28 on 01 Sep 2013

Aside from agreeing with all the above comments, given that it is possible to introduce variations to existing legislation, as seen in the cull programmes and sale of goose meat on Orkney, we need a dispensation to allow shooting of greylags on a Sunday to increase the opportunities for trying to reduce numbers. If a "sale of goosemeat can be sanctioned, then so could Sunday shooting.

Bryan Rendall

23:37 on 31 Aug 2013

Unfortunately SNH do not know how to interact with the people who have to live on and manage land. We have problems in our area with geese and the whole process was a farce. Despite promises of undertaking scientific research to refine their scheme nothing has changed. We see fields that are full of rushes where the farmer is paid to fertilise them and then paid to cut the fertilised rushes down, no geese ever land on the ground. A sward height requirement that is too high for the geese to eat was set despite proper scientific evidence to the contrary. The highest use fields are not in the scheme, what a waste of public money. Interfering with nature without the knowledge of what you are doing always leads to disaster. It is time that the Scottish Parliament took control of the situation and changed the law so that an independent committee, appointed by Parliament with out representatives of SNH or RSPB on it, could then provide best advice. We have the ACSSSI committee but their advice can be ignored by SNH and often is, another waste of public money. This should be changed. There is no independent committee who looks at European designations and can comment or control them, one needs to be set up. SNH, despite promising me in writing that I could comment on the advice sent to the Minister for our SPA, have steadfastly refused to provide it, it will probably be full of errors and false representations but where is the open government process? If we treat ourselves like this now under our own elected Parliament what hope is there for us.

William Beckmann

21:30 on 31 Aug 2013

Having seen at first hand the devastation of improved pastures designed to feed pregnant ewes by vast flocks of geese that farmers must support for no gain whilst accepting financial losses, I have no hesitation in signing this petition and urging others to do the same. If wildlife is a 'national resource' then the nation must contribute to its upkeep or accept that no single body must bare the brunt of maintaining it.

Angus Millar

15:04 on 31 Aug 2013

We have lots of geese on our land virtually all year round.They eat the grass,trample the crops and dirty the silage with their dung.Numbers are increasing and culling is required

Michael Summers

13:46 on 31 Aug 2013

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