Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has secured a commitment from the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Roseanna Cunningham, to visit Orkney to see first-hand the damage being done to crops and farmland by native greylag geese.
During Portfolio Questions in parliament this afternoon, Mr McArthur acknowledged the work being done by Scottish Natural Heritage and members of the local goose management group to identify ways of addressing the problem by putting in place measures to bring down resident greylag population to a sustainable level.
Mr McArthur highlighted a visit he made during the summer to a farm in Orkney’s east mainland where he saw the impact the growing number of resident greylag geese are having on farmland, and the difficulties faced by farmers and crofters in trying to respond. Mr McArthur extended a similar invitation to Ms Cunningham.
In response, Ms Cunningham said that she was always happy to visit Orkney and agreed to arrange a mutually convenient time with Mr McArthur and the local NFUS in due course.
Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:
“Earlier this year, I saw first-hand the impact that the growing numbers of resident greylag geese are having on crops and farmland in Orkney. It was also clear that the measures currently in place to deal with this are inadequate and putting farmers and crofters in an impossible position.
“The local goose management group deserves credit for coming forward with a number of proposed measures that have the potential to help. It is important, though, that these are properly resourced and implemented as quickly as possible.
“From my conversations with the local NFUS and individual farmers, I know there is a real desire to see the Minister come to Orkney to get a proper sense of the scale of the problem. I am pleased, therefore, that Roseanna Cunningham has accepted my invitation and will discuss with NFUS Orkney the most appropriate timing for such a visit, which I have no doubt will only reinforce with the Minister the need for urgent action.”