Natural England grants the killing of thousands of Brent Geese


At least 6,000 Brent Geese were shot while they overwintered in England between 2014 and 2019 after Natural England issued hundreds of licences to kill the Amber-listed species.

However, it is thought the exact death toll could in fact be as high as 8,000, with official data unclear. The number of geese to be killed on some of the applications isn't listed, hence the confusion over the precise figures involved.

Some 100,000 Brent Geese winter in Britain, yet as many as 8,000 were shot between 2014 and 2019 (Ed Stubbs).

Brent Goose is somewhat localised in Britain in winter, with an estimated 100,000 migrating to our isles during the colder months, meaning that perhaps some 8 per cent of the population has been killed since 2014. Natural England claimed the species causes 'serious damage to crops, vegetable or fruit', despite the geese having a varied diet, particularly eel-grass, but also seaweed and grass.

During winter, Brent Goose is almost exclusively coastal, with particularly large concentrations of Dark-bellied Brent across the estuarine habitats of Lincolnshire, North Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, North Kent and Hampshire. Pale-bellied Brent has a more northerly range, with Strangford Lough and Lough Foyle, both in Northern Ireland, and Holy Island, Northumberland, holding significant numbers. The shootings involved Dark-bellied Brent and took place in Essex, Kent and Lincolnshire.