Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, is to take part in cross-party talks with the Minister for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon MSP over funding for efforts to manage Orkney’s resident greylag goose population.
During Rural Affairs Questions in parliament this afternoon, Mr McArthur highlighted the concerns locally about the damage to crops and farmland caused by the high and growing numbers of greylag geese. He welcomed the re-establishment of the local goose management group, but indicated the need for the work of this group to be funded appropriately.
In response, Ms Gougeon acknowledged the concerns and the knock-on impact on the willingness of farmers and landowners to grant access to those involved in the stoat eradication programme. In light of concerns also being raised by Highlands & Islands MSP, Jamie Halcro-Johnston, the Minister offered to meet on a cross-party basis to discuss possible options.
Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur:
“The re-establishment of the local goose management group is very welcome and the initial meeting earlier this week appears to have identified a number of sensible options for tackling the issues arising from Orkney’s growing greylag goose population.
“However, it is essential that this group has the scope and resources to make a real difference.
“The Minister recognised the seriousness of this issue and the need for urgent action. I look forward to meeting her next week, along with fellow MSP colleagues, to discuss ways in which the Scottish Government can support efforts on the ground to deal with this long-standing problem."