Wednesday, 13 December 2017

UK to bring back beavers in first government flood reduction scheme of its kind

Beaver family will be released in the Forest of Dean to stop a village from flooding, with potential for further such schemes to follow

Tuesday 12 December 2017 09.47 GMTLast modified on Tuesday 12 December 2017 09.49 GMT

A valley in the Forest of Dean will echo to the sound of herbivorous munching next spring when a family of beavers are released into a fenced enclosure to stop a village from flooding, in the first ever such scheme funded by the government.

The plan for the village of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, may soon be joined by other schemes. The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has indicated that the government may support other schemes to restore the beaver four centuries after it was driven to extinction in England and Wales.

The beavers’ dam-building stores huge quantities of water and slows peak flows during flood events, potentially lessening devastating floods. Unofficial releases of beavers on to the River Otter in Devon have led to an official trial and similar schemes in Scotland last year led to the Scottish government declaring that the beaver would once again be recognised and protected as a native mammal.

 “The beaver has a special place in English heritage and the Forest of Dean proposal is a fantastic opportunity to help bring this iconic species back to the countryside,” said Gove. “The community of Lydbrook has shown tremendous support for this proposal and the beavers are widely believed to be a welcome addition to local wildlife.”

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