Trust responds to latest Scottish Government Consultation on Beavers

Reintroducing beavers adds to Scotland’s environmental credentials

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The John Muir Trust has responded in support of the policy of reintroducing beavers to Scotland as part of a Scottish Government consultation ahead of legislation allowing beavers to remain in Scotland being debated in the Edinburgh Parliament later this year.

Back in April 2015 the Trust gave its backing to the reintroduction of the keystone species, urging the Scottish Government to welcome the return of the Eurasian beaver as a native species and allow further reintroductions across Scotland.

On 24 November 2016 Scottish Ministers announced that beaver populations in Knapdale in Argyll and in the Tay and Earn catchments could stay subject to the satisfactory completion of two habitats and environmental assessments. These have now been completed with the subsequent environmental report forming the basis of the consultation.

In its consultation response the Trust has stated that it supports the principle of allowing existing populations in the country to naturally expand. It also believes consideration should be given to further release sites to secure a viable population. The Trust believes the Scottish Government’s report has comprehensively identified potential impacts and mitigation.

Commenting on the environmental report the Trust concluded that the return of the beaver to Scotland is highly popular among the general public and adds to Scotland’s environmental credentials internationally. There are many wider benefits that will be derived by the return of this species. Where conflict or negative impacts occur, adaptive management and mitigation can be used - as demonstrated from across Europe.

The Trust also stated that it is essential that a clear monitoring framework is set up from the outset to ensure all subsequent policies and decisions are evidence based.

The Trust's overall stance echoes those of leading conservation organisations including Scottish Wildlife Trust and National Trust for Scotland.