National Goose Management Review Group minutes: October 2018

Minutes from the National Goose Management Review Group meeting on 5 October 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Morag Milne, SNH
  • Colin Shedden, BASC
  • Andrew Midgely, NFUS
  • Claudia Rowse, SNH
  • Rae McKenzie, SNH
  • Hugh Dignon, SG (Chair)
  • Bill Dundas, RPID


  • Karen Ramoo, SLE
  • Keith Connal, SG 
  • Gill Hartley, SASA
  • Patrick Krause, SCF
  • Martin Kennedy, NFUS

Items and actions

Minutes (16 May 2018, Paper 1) and matters arising

1. The minutes from 16 May 2018 were approved and the action points have been delivered (see Appendix 1).    

2. AP: Under matters arising Morag agreed to circulate the Statement of Requirements for the ‘Farm practice in Goose Scheme areas’ (verification) contract and to share early results with members (anticipated in November 2018).

Goose policy review

Verbal update – Hugh Dignon

3. SNH sent the policy review to the Scottish Government on 30 March 2018.  Hugh is in the process of getting Ministerial approval for it.  The Scottish Government will send a copy to the ECCLR committee (as they have asked to see it).

4. AP: Claudia will arrange for the policy review document and associated quality assurance report to be published on SNH’s web pages along with a report outlining the actions that were taken in response to the QA process.

Adaptive management pilots: policy review

Paper 2 – Morag Milne 

5. The review describes the AM Pilots, and how effectively they met their objectives.  It also makes recommendations about the more immediate next steps to take.

6. Paper 4 is a second draft of the policy review for the Adaptive Management Pilots.  It takes account of comments from members of the NGMRG, LGMGs and WWT (who undertook much of the survey work that underpin the Pilots).  Comments were submitted up to 22 August 2018.  They came from Uist LGMG (David Muir, Bill Dundas), Tiree LGMG (Peter Isaacson), Tiree Branch of the NFUS (Lucy Sumpsion), Carl Mitchell, WWT and Colin Shedden, BASC.

7. Many comments from LGMGs concerned the next steps and therefore fell outwith the terms of reference for this review.  They will be incorporated into the ‘next steps’ report.   Comments included the following; David Muir was concerned about the balance between the amount of shooting effort allocated to reducing the size of the Uist resident greylag population and the considerable effort put into shooting to scare birds.  He would have liked the Pilot’s objectives to have been clearer so that shooters focused their efforts on reducing the size of the resident greylag population.  Comments from Tiree emphasised the importance of good relations between parties who do and do not hold the shooting rights. We were asked to change ‘local communities’ to ‘farmers and crofters’, and clarification was sought on a number of points.  We were asked to make it clear that the Pilots had not delivered a reduction in damage to agricultural crops. 

8. There was some discussion about the way in which the objective ‘to reduce damage’ is covered in the report. 

9. AP: Morag will revise the report to treat this objective slightly differently; to show that the Pilots ‘had not demonstrated’ a reduction in damage, rather than ‘had failed to deliver’ this objective (Bill reported that crofters felt that damage levels had reduced because in principle it should do). 

10. AP: Claudia to comment on Paper 2.

11. Andrew reported the following points from his discussions with NFUS members:

  • continued government funding is required to deliver population control
  • self-help (self-financing) won’t work and therefore resident greylag goose populations will increase when the pilots cease
  • the expectation that LGMGs deliver marketing studies is unreasonable

12. Bill agreed with the review’s key findings but suggested LGMGs are not ready for self-help yet.

13. Hugh reminded the meeting that government expenditure on goose policy exceeds £1m per year, and that government money is focused on species with greatest conservation need and where more management restrictions apply.  Where farmers can help themselves (for example, with quarry species), government will encourage them to do so to. 

14. These are key points that arose from the 2011 Goose Policy review, and the 2016 Goose Policy Review recommends a continuation of this approach.

15. The discussion moved on to the ‘next steps’ report and Bill and Andrew suggested the following are barriers to self-help:

  • regulation. LGMGs want complete deregulation i.e. no restrictions on shooting or sale of goose meat
  • the number of people with gun licences is diminishing
  • the resident greylag goose population grows quickly
  • cost
  • methods used to kill birds. Alternative methods might be cheaper or more effective than shooting  

16. LGMGs still want SNH and RPID to contribute to LGMG meetings. 

17. Bill also suggested that stipulations (e.g. current monitoring requirements) shouldn’t be imposed on LGMGs when they take on responsibility for delivering a self-help approach.

18. Lewis and Harris and Uist LGMGs have commissioned marketing studies to help them develop proposals to deliver goose management after March 2019 (when the transitional phase of the Pilots comes to an end).  They expect to complete these studies by 16 November 2018.  Crofters on Tiree feel they are in a different situation because they do not own the shooting rights.

19. AP: Morag to compile a ‘next steps’ report using the LGMG’s marketing studies and relevant comments from the review of AM Pilots.  These reports were due by 31 March 2018, and now delayed to November 2018.  Hugh reminded the meeting that Scottish Government anticipates LGMGs will adopt self-help approaches after the transitional period for the Pilots; the marketing studies should help them but they are not a pre-requisite, nor is a ‘zero cost’ to the farming/crofting community.

20. AP: Morag to arrange an AM sub-group meeting in November to discuss the next steps reports and marketing studies.

Goose schemes: Uist, Tiree and Luing 

Verbal update – Claudia Rowse

21. As a result of the 2016 review of goose policy, SNH is gathering information to enable the introduction of new Schemes to manage Greenland Barnacle geese.  They will deliver parity for farmers across the Barnacle goose range including on Luing, Uist and Tiree where goose density is high.  The proposal is warmly welcomed.  Firm proposals are anticipated by November. 

Goose schemes: Slamannan Bean Goose Scheme 

Paper 3 – Morag Milne

22. Last year the NGMRG were introduced to the Slamannan Bean Goose Scheme. The NGMRG asked SNH to review the scheme against the Scottish Government’s goose policy objectives.  SNH reviewed the Scheme this summer and closed it in September 2018 because it was no longer delivering national goose policy objectives.  Paper 3 is an information paper which explains why closure was appropriate at this time.

23. As part of its ongoing commitment to the conservation of Bean geese on Slamannan Plateau, SNH will continue to support essential monitoring of the population.

AP: Morag to request SNH and GSAG’s advice about the monitoring that is required to meet our obligations under the AEWA Bean Goose species plan. 

Goose schemes: annual reports (circulated)/compatibilities checks

Verbal update – Claudia Rowse

24. AP: All to submit comments on the 2017/18 annual reports by 31 October 2018.

25. Incompatibility checks were introduced last year (2017/18) and SNH will continue to undertake these checks whenever management agreements are introduced (when new AECs or goose scheme management agreements are assessed) or adjusted (at the start of the goose scheme year when fields may be moved into different goose scheme options). 

26. SNH has undertaken retrospective compatibilities checks on the 2016/17 goose scheme agreements.  Due to the analysis of risk, the small amount of money involved, the restricted time period and the small number of agreements affected there is no desire by SNH or RPID to reclaim money from goose scheme participants.  SNH is currently investigating with RPID how to write off the 2016/17 goose scheme overpayments.

Structure of NGMRG

Paper 5 – Rae/Morag

27. In response to the recommendations from the 2016 Goose Policy Review, Paper 5 proposes changes to the structure of the NGMRG to encourage closer links with stakeholders.  It suggests NGMRG meets less frequently and that its meetings are attended by a wider range of stakeholders.

28. AP: All to provide comments on Paper 5, particularly to consider the number of meetings required each year, the number of LGMG representatives that should attend each meeting, and whether both plenary and executive group meetings are required.

AEWA update

Verbal update - Rae McKenzie

29. The AEWA International Goose Working Group met in June 2018 to finalise the draft of the Single Species Management Plan for the Barnacle Goose.  This plan covers all 3 populations, including both populations wintering in Scotland.  It sets out a high level framework for managing these populations.

30. The plan will be presented for adoption at the next AEWA Meeting of the Parties in December 2018.

31. SNH are inputting into a number of AEWA working groups including the Agricultural Task Force, the Bean Goose Working Group and the Modelling Consortium.  Working with these groups allows a shared understanding of the issues and a joint working towards solutions to goose management issues.


32. Date of next meeting:  

Morag to circulate dates for an adaptive management sub group meeting in November and an NGMRG meeting in January.


Morag Milne
17 October 2018


Appendix 1

Action points outstanding at 5 October 2018


Action points from 16 May 2018

Progress at 5 October 2018
Morag to invite representatives including from NFUS, BASC, SNH’s Natural Larder project, Food Standards Scotland to a first meeting to explore the extension of sale in mid-June Discharged. Met 24 July 2018 
Members are invited to comment on the structure of the AM Pilots’ review and to advise if there are any gaps that need to be addressed. Please respond by 30 May 2018 Discharged
Members are invited to comment on the way forward for future greylag goose management by 30 May 2018 Discharged. Comments on the review included some consideration of the next steps

Action points from 23 November 2017

SNH will speak with NFUS to set up a working group before Christmas Superseded
The role of the NGMRG and its terms of reference will be a substantive agenda item at its next meeting Discharged



NGMRG Secretariat
Scottish Natural Heritage

Telephone: 01738 444177

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