Funding to tackle problems with growing greylag goose populations on Scottish islands

THE Scottish Government must help the islanders facing problems due to the explosion in the number of greylag geese.

Crofters and farmers in Orkney, Uist, Lewis and Harris, Tiree and Coll are to receive financial help to stop birds damaging their crops after one region saw the population grow more than 17 times in two decades .

The Scottish Government is to provide £50,000 in additional funding for existing adaptive management projects.

The projects, set up by NatureScot in 2012, help local communities control goose populations and reduce their impacts on agricultural activity and unique habitats, while maintaining their interest in conservation.

Environment and Land Reform Minister Mairi McAllan visited Orkney – where a population of around 1,500 greylag geese in 2001 exploded to 26,500 birds in 2021 – to announce the funding.

This increase in the population of resident greylag geese can cause agricultural damage to crops due to trampling and grazing.

McAllan said: ‘I have listened to the concerns of farmers and crofters in Orkney, Lewis and Harris, Uist, Tiree and Coll about the difficulties they have encountered in controlling resident populations of grislag.

“I understand how severe the impacts can be for smallholder communities, as well as the unique machair habitat and biodiversity that their traditional form of agriculture supports.

“That’s why we’re contributing up to £50,000 towards the control of resident greylag geese on these islands over the next two years to mitigate the impact on agriculture and support unique and important habitats.

“It’s part of our broader approach to delivering more resilient and sustainable agricultural systems.”