Plan to cull geese at South Gloucestershire beauty spot sparks argument

Geese in Lydney BPM MEDIA

A row has broken out over plans to cull Canada Geese at Lydney Lake, after reports the birds are frightening parents and children with their demands to be fed.

The news comes after initial complaints that poo from the same birds was causing a mess on walkways and polluting the lake.

Lydney Town Council, trustee of the recreation ground and lake, voted to apply for a licence to ‘thin out’ the population of birds.

Most councillors say that the number of geese at Lydney Lake is now out of hand, voting to cull some of them.

But councillor Louise Penny, one of three who voted against the cull, is urging townspeople to sign a petition to save the geese. She wants a volunteer group set up to carry out work needed that she believes will control the population naturally.

"If you cull geese, more will come, as the area is a perfect habitat for geese, I am completely against the cull of these geese, no matter how many.” She said in a statement.

She believes there is ‘no reason’ to kill the geese, just because they’re becoming a human inconvenience.

“Humans and animals need to learn to live alongside each other” she added. "Because the geese are being fed by humans this causes them occasionally to respond to humans aggressively at times and when protecting their young.

"By feeding the geese bread, the public are making the problem with the geese worse, this is because it’s not good for them to eat and affects their bodily functions, which is another reason why we have more poo.”

However, Lydney recreation trust, set up to manage the sports facilities next to the lake, agree with the council majority.

They have announced that something needs to be done, as the large number of geese is driving away swans, mallard ducks and other species.

Not to mention visitors.

"Because visitors continue to feed the geese, the geese have come to expect to be fed and they become aggressive when food is withheld," said a statement released by the Trust.

"We know of several incidents where mothers have reported alarm and distress to their infant children and to themselves when they try to protect their children."

The aggression of the Canada Geese combined with their mess has resulted in visiting teams refusing to play at the nearby sports facility.

"Matches have been postponed because of the amount of faeces left on our sports fields – visiting teams have refused to play after inspecting the pitch” said the trust. "Because the Trust was set up to deliver sports pitches as its charitable objectives, our primary concern has to be the continued provision of those pitches in a condition fit and safe to play on."

"Reducing the number of Canada Geese is an action we take only reluctantly after more than a year of considering other options." They said.

The council has not put any figures forward about the numbers of geese at the lake, nor details of the proposed cull.