The NFU has contributed to the English Beaver Strategy Working Group and called for an English Beaver Strategy, a long-term plan for restoring beaver populations in the country. It follows Defra's decision to allow England’s first wild breeding population of beavers for 400 years to remain in their home in the River Otter in Devon.
The Working Group is led by the Beaver Trust and includes the NFU and other organisations such as the CLA, National Trust and RSPB.
NFU environment forum chairman Phil Jarvis said: “Any species introduction can have a massive impact on the countryside and farming. Beaver activity can undermine riverbanks and impede farmland drainage, making fields too waterlogged for cropping or grazing. This seriously hinders farmers’ ability to produce food for the nation. Following Defra’s decision for beavers to remain on the River Otter in Devon it is vital that Defra works with farmers and other organisations to develop a long-term management plan. Within this there must also be an effective exit strategy ready to be put in place if any major issues occur. We will continue to work with government and key stakeholders to ensure any potential impacts on farmland and the countryside are properly considered and mitigated.”