Goose management policy review 2022

Update on progress in delivering goose management policies. this sets out proposals to refresh policies for delivery of goose management over the next 5 to 10 years and highlights emerging issues that will require actions in the medium to longer term.

Section 1: Introduction and Recommendations

1. Introduction

A formal goose management policy has been in place in Scotland since 1999, with a commitment to undertake a review of this policy every 5 years. The last review took place in 2017. The 2022 review provides an update on progress in delivering goose management policies over the previous five years, sets out proposals to refresh policies for delivery of goose management over the next 5-10 years and highlights emerging issues that will require actions in the medium to longer term.

This review takes place in the context of policy drivers prioritising biodiversity, climate change and Net Zero, uncertainty about the shape of future agricultural support mechanisms, impacts of avian influenza, impact of Covid lockdowns on management activities and tightening financial constraints.

The review has been undertaken by NatureScot, supported by Scottish Government Rural Inspections and Payment Directorate, on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The initial scope and commissioning document which was agreed by Scottish Ministers at the beginning of the review process is included at Annex 1.

The review has considered the Scottish Island Plan under the Islands (Scotland) Act and concluded that as the policy applies equally across islands and the mainland, it does not require an Island Communities Impact Assessment. Details of the considerations are set out in Annex 2.

2. Consultation Process

To inform the review, a national consultation exercise has been undertaken. An initial online questionnaire was available to any interested party to complete. A total of 257 responses were submitted and a summary is included in Annex 3. Those responses then formed the basis of detailed discussions with National Goose Forum and individual Local Goose Management Groups and from that, a summary of progress with delivery of the current objectives (Annex 4) and an outline of stakeholder priorities going forward has been made (Section 8).

In addition to stakeholders with agricultural and conservation interests, the review panel also held discussions with airport safety managers to assess the need for goose management policy to address air safety issues.

Whilst these discussions inform the process, the final recommendations on future policy are set in the context of current Scottish Government and NatureScot priorities.

3. Recommendations

The review summarises the progress made since the previous review in 2017 (Annex 4). It is clear that a number of changes have been introduced to goose management delivery since then and that these changes have made progress in delivering some aspects of existing goose management policies. However, there are a number of areas that have been identified through the consultation process as increasing or developing issues and this review sets out recommendations in Table 1 to support future goose management delivery.

1. Goose policy objectives should be refreshed to ensure that they are clear and measurable and to take into account priority government policies around biodiversity, agriculture, crofting and Net Zero (this recommendation has been completed as part of this review).

2. Work should continue to develop and deliver national and international species management plans. Priority will be given to protected species (Greenland white-fronted goose, Greenland barnacle goose and Svalbard barnacle goose). The development of a new range wide plan for the recently re-classified Icelandic greylag goose is also a priority, incorporating a national plan for resident greylag.

3. Clarify when, where and at what level public funding is required to deliver management interventions.

4. A specific review of support for goose management should take place to ensure the Schemes are operating in an equitable and transparent manner.

5. Commitment to goose management should aim to be medium to long term to allow farmers and crofters to plan management of their businesses.

6. Continue to explore mechanisms to manage populations of resident greylag geese.

7. Consider air safety issues in developing goose management policy and interventions.

8. Improve engagement with key stakeholders through effective use of national and local goose management groups and apply Shared Approach principles[1].

9. Continue engagement with other stakeholders who have an interest in goose management e.g. water quality, tourism, sporting and public and animal health.

10. A delivery plan setting out how goose management recommendations and objectives will be met, including clear roles and responsibilities for all stakeholders and following Just Transition principles[2], should be developed by the end of 2024.

11. Integrate goose management policy within wider wildlife management approaches.

Table 1. Recommendations from the 2022 Review

3.1 Recommendations for refreshed goose policy objectives

Refreshed goose policy objectives to ensure that they are clear, measurable and take into account other key government policies are proposed in Table 2.

  • Meet the UK's nature conservation obligations for geese and support goose management in a way which helps to deliver Net Zero[3], and biodiversity[4] targets.
  • Support farmers and crofters to manage their agricultural businesses alongside important populations of geese and within Scottish Government's vision for sustainable and regenerative farming[5] and the National Development Plan for Crofting[6].
  • Utilise clear criteria for using public funding to deliver government policy priorities whilst maximising value for money of public expenditure.
  • Support airport managers to mitigate goose related risks to aircraft.

Table 2. Refreshed goose policy objective recommendations



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