Wednesday, 19 February 2020 10:47

UK to bring beavers back, despite farmer concern

Written by  Staff Reporters
A Eurasian beaver. Photo: National Trust. A Eurasian beaver. Photo: National Trust.

They help prevent flooding and drought by building leaky dams, but UK farmers are concerned about their reintroduction.

Late last month, a pair of Eurasian beavers were released in Somerset in South West England by the National Trust.

The release follows the UK conservation governing body’s announcement in November last year that it would be releasing the beavers into two sites in the south of England. 

Beavers became extinct in England in the 16th century after intensive hunting for their fur, meat, and scent glands. 

The National Trust says their reintroduction can reduce flooding and improve biodiversity. 

But not everyone is happy about their reintroduction. 

Farming UK reports that the National Farmers' Union (NFU) has expressed concern about the reintroduction of the species. 

It says that the NFU believes releasing the animals loose in the wild could have a 'massive impact' on farming and the countryside.

NFU senior countryside adviser Claire Robinson told The Telegraph: “Any species introduction, particularly if it has not been in this country for hundreds of years, can have a massive impact on the many benefits that the countryside and farming delivers,

“Beavers in the wild could have potentially serious implications on farmland such as land drains being blocked in lowland arable areas.”

A new University of Exeter study looks to validate some of the NFU’s concerns.

The five-year study on the impacts of beavers on the English countryside found that whilst the animals can bring ‘measurable benefits’ to people and wildlife, some farmers will be affected.

The study shows that the animals created ‘adverse impact’ on five farmland sites.

The authors state that beavers will create ‘localised problems’ for a ‘handful of farmers and property owners’.

They add that the reduction of flood risk in communities downstream may come at a cost of water being stored on farmland upstream. 

More like this

Carbon zero milk

Fonterra has joined forces with a supermarket chain to deliver what it claims is NZ’s first carbon zero milk.

Winners committed to environment

It's not the first time Fonterra’s John Wilson Memorial Trophy recipients, Nick and Nicky Dawson have been recognised for their sustainability efforts.

Sustainability stars pick up awards

Ten kiwi dairy farmers who have shown exceptional care for the environment have been recognised with a DairyNZ sustainability and stewardship award.

Featured

Water reforms come at a cost

The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.

2020 harvest yields up

Final harvest data for wheat, barley and oats (milling/malting and feed) in 2020 show yields were up 17% overall across the six crops.

 

Difficult but the right call

DairyNZ chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says the joint decision three years ago to eradicate Mycoplamsa bovis was a difficult call.

Milking cluster milks runner-up award

DeLaval has come away with the runner up prize in this year’s Fieldays Online innovation competition with a new milking cluster that eliminates the need for conventional liner changes.

Glow worms to cows

Thomas Lundman's work focus has gone from tracking tiny critters in pitch black caves to looking after considerably larger animals in paddocks near Whakatane.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter