Opposition to reintroduction of beavers

A Eurasian beaver similar to those which are already living wild in Tayside.
A Eurasian beaver similar to those which are already living wild in Tayside.

NFU Scotland is reiterating its opposition to the reintroduction of beavers in Tayside following reports published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The union has previously stated its opposition to permanent reintroduction of beavers on both practical and financial grounds, including that it is deeply sceptical that they can be excluded from areas of highly productive farmland that are heavily reliant on complex drainage systems and flood banks.

It is concerned that the time spent on, and private cost incurred in, removing dams and pipe blockages and repairing flood defences is already significant and will only increase if the population is afforded protection and thereafter grows.

Union representatives met with Dr Aileen McLeod, Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, on Tayside farms recently to discuss the damage caused to farmland and to see first-hand the impact they are having on agriculture in this area.

Andrew Bauer, NFU Scotland’s deputy director of policy, said: “We believe that already stretched SNH species management budgets cannot cope with the high costs of managing what many call ‘nature’s engineer’ and that beaver reintroduction would divert resources and attention away from helping indigenous species, such as the wildcat and capercaille that are under threat.

“The union calls on Dr McLeod to not exacerbate the existing issues by giving beavers protected status.

“The three-year funding cycles for the sea eagle and geese schemes are evidence that any compensation for beaver impacts would be unlikely to be secure over the long-term.”