National Goose Forum minutes: August 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 9 August 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Sam Turner, SG (Chair)
  • Rae McKenzie, NS
  • Morag Milne, NS (secretariat)
  • Andrew Connon, NFUS
  • Bill Dundas, RPID
  • Gillian Walker, RPID
  • Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland
  • James How, RSPB Scotland
  • Steve Campbell, SASA
  • Nils Bunnefeld, Stirling University
  • Alastair Watson, Orkney LGMG
  • David Muir, Uist LGMG
  • Patrick Krause, SCF
  • James Daniel, Shetland LGMG
  • Sally Reynolds, Lewis and Harris LGMG
  • Brian Minshull, BGAG
  • Penny Middleton, NFUS
  • Gary Clewley, BTO
  • Richard Hearn, WWT (for part of the meeting)


  • Duncan MacAlister, Kintyre LGMG
  • Donald McCreath, Strathbeg LGMG
  • Karen Ramoo, SLE
  • Hugh Dignon, SG
  • Donald Fraser, NS
  • Paul Walton, RSPB
  • Alastair Martin, Solway LGMG
  • Peter Isacsson, Tiree LGMG
  • Sarah Cowie, NFUS
  • Robert Epps, Islay LGMG

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Sam Turner welcomed everyone to the meeting.

The minutes of the last meeting (21 April 2021) were approved with a correction to the spelling for Andrew Connon’s name and the addition of greylag to the item about goose impacts on Orkney. Action points from previous meetings are listed at action points raised at previous meetings.

Most matters arising were addressed through agenda items, with the exception of an update to the greylag goose control item where Patrick and David sought a Ministerial response ahead of the goose policy review. Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) consider the national policy review report will be too late to safeguard crofting interests. They want the Minister to make decisions about greylag management in advance of the national policy review. The SCF recently provided evidence to the Rural Affairs, Islands and Natural Environment Committee (RAINE committee) and asked it to keep open Petition 1490 about greylag geese. 

Sam explained that the Minister is aware of Local Goose Management Group's (LGMG) views about greylag geese and has met recently with National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS). The Minister has given a clear steer that the national goose policy review offers an opportunity for LGMGs to express their views and to influence the future direction of goose policy. 

Colin reported that British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is working with farmers in the Cairngorms national park area to help those who are experiencing impacts from resident greylag geese. BASC is putting these land managers in contact with BASC members to help them to protect their crops.

Goose policy review (verbal update from Bill Dundas)

The Minister has approved the scope for the national goose policy review. It will recommend what should be in goose policy over the next five years. It will be submitted to Scottish Government in spring 2023.

The review will be undertaken by Rae, Bill, Gillian and Morag, and overseen by a project board including representation from LGMGs and Scottish Government.

To inform the review, stakeholders will be consulted for their views on current and future goose policy. They will be invited to complete a questionnaire and follow-up meetings will be arranged with the project team and stakeholder representatives including National Goose Forum (NGF) and LGMGs.  Questionnaires can be completed by individuals and by stakeholder representatives to capture the full range of views. Stakeholder representatives are therefore encouraged to share the questionnaire with their membership.

Bill shared his screen to show the questionnaire content.

The questionnaire will be issued shortly, with a deadline for return by 30 September 2022. It will also be available from NatureScot’s web pages.

Stakeholder groups will also have an opportunity to comment on the report at key stages during its development; in November 2022 and in February 2023.

Nils offered expertise from Stirling University to help with data gathering and analysis to develop the review. 

Avian flu incidence (verbal update from Rae McKenzie)

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has been recorded in Scotland in various wild bird species this year. In geese, the biggest die-off in winter 2022 occurred in the Svalbard barnacle population on the Solway (c.13,000 birds), and in Greenland barnacle population in Ireland and Islay (c.2,700 – 3,000 birds).  HPAI has been reported recently in these populations of geese on Svalbard and in Iceland. Tens of thousands of seabirds in/around Scotland have died from HPAI this summer. 

NatureScot will undertake additional goose counts where required to inform management decisions for the coming winter. 

NatureScot, together with Scottish Government Animal Health, Animal and Plant Health Agency and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are contributing to a national HPAI Task Force. NatureScot’s Scientific Advisory Committee has also established a sub-group to consider HPAI. This sub-group may consider surveillance requirements.

All are still encouraged to report found dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) helpline for testing (03459 33 55 77).

African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) meeting in June 2022

Rae gave a presentation about the AEWA meeting in June, focusing on the development of flyway management for barnacle geese wintering in Scotland. Links to the AEWA website for information from this meeting can be found here: 7th Meeting of the AEWA European Goose Management International Working Group (EGM IWG7) | European Goose Management Platform

Any other current business and date of next meeting 

The Orkney LGMG has undertaken further greylag control this spring/summer with shooting on the nest and corral trapping. NatureScot will publish a report about the corral trapping work in the autumn.

(AP)1: Morag will canvass for dates in November 2022 and February 2022 for future meetings, and seek suggestions for agenda items.

Action Points raised at previous meetings

Actions from 21 April 2021 meeting

Morag to summarise the costs for different methods for controlling resident greylag geese to date.

Update at 4 Aug 2022

Outstanding. Awaiting data from LGMGs/colleagues.

Actions from 21 April 2021 meeting

With respect to pink-foot numbers in Orkney and in the rest of Scotland, NatureScot ornithologists will provide information about recent trends using international goose counts (held every three years in February), over the last nine years.

Update at 4 Aug 2022

Outstanding. Morag to chase up.

Actions from 21 April 2021 meeting

Morag will attend the next Bean Goose Advisory Group (BGAG) meeting on 16 June 2022.

Update at 4 Aug 2022


Actions from 21 April 2021 meeting

Hugh Dignon will publish NGF minutes.

Update at 4 Aug 2022


Actions from 5 August 2021 meeting

Morag and Rae to arrange presentations to the NGF potentially from Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID), NatureScot and others to provide context for further discussions about where potential opportunities lie including future Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (AECS), Less Favoured Area Support (LFASS),  Piloting an Outcome Based Support (POBAS) and other approaches.

Update at 4 Aug 2022

Outstanding. Pending clarity of future direction for agri-environment policy.

Actions from 5 August 2021 meeting

Morag will circulate a link to Birdstrike’s report about the greylag corralling trial when NatureScot publish it.

Update at 4 August 2022

Outstanding. Pending publication of report.

Actions from 2 March 2021 meeting

David Muir asked if we had published our (early 2019) NatureScot economic appraisal of wildlife management. Rae offered to find out.

Update at 4 August 2022

Outstanding. The report has not been published. Rae has asked if she can circulate a draft ahead of the report’s publication.

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