Managing geese

​Scotland has had a national goose policy since 2000, to help balance agricultural and conservation interests.


Wild geese have long formed an important part of Scotland’s nature and landscapes. But growing populations can cause significant losses to farmers and crofters.

A number of local goose management schemes and pilots operate across Scotland within the framework of national goose policy. These aim to minimise agricultural losses whilst ensuring that Scotland fulfils its international nature conservation objectives.

NatureScot provides funding and administrative support to the schemes and pilots. Each initiative has been developed by a local goose management group, which is chaired by the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate.

Goose management schemes

These help land managers to support populations of wintering geese associated with neighbouring Special Protection Areas.

Schemes are located in:

Scheme administration

Managing greylag geese

Resident greylag goose populations have expanded their number and range, rising steadily since the 1980s. 

NatureScot has worked with Local Goose Management Groups to test adaptive approaches to reducing resident greylag goose impacts.  Farmers and crofters on Orkney, Uist, Tiree and Coll and Lewis and Harris took a sustainable harvest to reduce goose populations.  We would encourage others to use adaptive approaches, where possible, as the basic means to resolve goose management conflict.

Where greylag geese are causing serious agricultural damage you can use General Licence 02/2023 to reduce their impacts.

The sale of greylag goose meat from birds legally taken on Orkney, Uist, Tiree and Coll and Lewis and Harris is licensed until 31 December 2022 under General Licence 15/2023.

NatureScot reviewed the greylag adaptive approaches in 2018.


Morag Milne
Telephone: 01738 458625
Email: [email protected]

Find out more

Islay Sustainable Goose Management Strategy
Islay Goose Management Project Presentation
Goose Management on Islay - current approach

Bird and licensing 
Wintering Geese

Last updated: