Farming members in Tayside expressed serious concerns about the impact the escapee population of Eurasian Beaver (now numbering in excess of 200) is having on agricultural interests in the area. Farmers are particularly concerned that the beaver is damming drainage channels, causing the water table to rise which has the effect of blocking field drains and burrowing into flood embankments which become prone to collapse. At the present time dams can be cleared and beaver can be shot (SNH has guidance on how this should be carried out - http://taysidebeaverstudygroup.org.uk/legal-situation/4573245812), but if the species becomes officially reintroduced, a possibility within the next 12 months, they may have a level of protection which prevents this type of management taking place. Scottish Land & Estates are in ongoing discussions with the Scottish Government and its agencies on this matter to ensure any reintroduction is not to the detriment of land management interests.
Farmers in Tayside are keen that their counterparts in the rest of Scotland engage with this issue now and don’t wait until the issues are affecting them. For further details contact Anne Gray, Policy Officer (Environment) on 0131 653 5400.