Liam McArthur might recall that I wrote to him on 17 February to provide an update on my proposed visit to Orkney to see at first hand the impact of resident greylag geese on farmlands and crops, and to discuss potential solutions. My office is looking at potential dates and will be in touch shortly with the member’s office and the NFU Scotland branch on Orkney to agree a suitable date for the visit.
I understand that my colleague Mairi Gougeon is finalising dates to visit Orkney separately and would be happy to meet Liam McArthur, if he would find that useful.
I would certainly find that useful. I thank the cabinet secretary for her answer and for taking up my invitation to come to Orkney to see at first hand the damage that is caused by the large—and growing—resident greylag goose population.
As well as agreeing the details of the plan for the visit with Orkney NFUS, and given the progress that has been made with setting up the various options to control resident greylag geese in Orkney, will the cabinet secretary confirm that funding will be available to continue with control measures, should they prove to be successful in reducing overall numbers?
I clarify that the original agreement that I made with Liam McArthur was to visit in early summer for reasons to do with my diary, which is why I said that Mairi Gougeon might want to think about meeting the member separately.
In respect of money, we have committed to continuing a level of funding until spring 2021. I cannot commit to more than that for obvious reasons to do with budgets and budget timetables, but I am sure that that will be an active part of the conversation that Liam McArthur will wish to have.