Beaver Trust welcomes “strong levels of interest” in beaver reintroduction consultation

Management & Regulation, Natural Environment

Nature-restoration charity Beaver Trust has welcomed the high level of responses to Defra’s Beaver reintroduction and management in England consultation, which has now closed for submissions.

In all, 3,198 responses to the consultation were received, and the government has announced that it is delaying its official response to the consultation until spring 2022 so it can ‘fully consider the comments made by respondents’.

Speaking to CIWEM Beaver Trust communications director Eva Bishop said:

“Beaver Trust is delighted to see such high response figures to the beaver consultation, demonstrating strong levels of interest in their return. We now urge Defra to deliver swift progress on a clear strategy for both the restoration of this species and the wider societal benefits it brings. We are in a climate emergency, and measures that build landscape resilience should be progressed with urgency.

“An English Beaver Strategy is long overdue and we hope that any policy promotes coexistence to support those potentially facing unwanted impacts, whilst enabling more progress on licence applications and further beaver release sites. Beaver Trust will continue to offer support to those investigating future releases."

The proposed approach to beaver reintroduction and management would:

  • allow releases into the wild where licence applications show clear benefits and where risks of negative impacts are avoided, mitigated for, or managed
  • allow existing wild-living beaver populations to remain
  • continue to allow releases into enclosures, with licence criteria tightened to focus on the benefits of the project

There are approximately 1,500 Eurasian beavers in the UK, though exact figures aren’t known, with many dwelling in dedicated beaver-project enclosures, including two Beaver Trust projects in Cornwall.

Beaver re-introduction is one of the big hopes of proponents of rewilding and nature-based solutions, and it's not hard to understand why.

Through the dams they create beavers can help with improved water quality and flood prevention – the slow passage of water through beaver dams regulates the flow of water during high rains as well as helping to remove water impurities. Nitrate and phosphate-rich beaver ponds also support the creation of habitats where co-species thrive.

More on beavers in the UK:

Read: Scottish government announces new measures to 'support expansion of the beaver population’

Watch: Beaver Reintroduction: Nature's engineers restoring an entire ecosystem in Derbyshire

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