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Licenses to Kill Beavers to Stop

LISTEN: Alan McDonnell gives his reaction to the judge’s decision – Photo Credit: scotlandbigpicture.com

In 2019 beavers were made legally protected by law, yet since than 200 beavers have been killed with licenses from NatureScot in the Tayside area. 

However, 4 days ago Lady Carmichael confirmed that NatureScot must have proper justified reasons to grant a license to kill beavers. 

The beaver license controversy is split between NatureScot and their partners Scottish Land Estates who are in differences with Trees for Life about beaver problems and their solutions. 

Alan McDonnell, Trees for Life Conservation Manager, said: “This judgment (the court’s judgement) means that all licenses for killing beavers which had been in force are unlawful and killing must stop today. It also means that all killing to date has been illegal.” 

Beavers can cause serious damage to prime farmland, meaning a farmer may have to apply for a culling license from NatureScot, yet Trees for Life believe this should be a last resort, and that all possible solutions should be explored. 

Such as moving the beavers over to a habitable 100,000 hectares of land identified by NatureScot. 

The criticism in NatureScot’s granting of killing licenses is that they were doing it without a well-written reason for a license, but this changed when complaints were taken to court.

One out of five complaints were found to be valid from the court. The verdict was successful for NatureScot on most points aside from one that now requires them to issue species control licenses accordingly with a well written reason.

Although this vindicates their license approach, they are accepting of it. 

Robbie Kernahan, NatureScot’s Director of Sustainable Growth, added: “We will be reviewing this carefully over the coming days to ensure the finding of the Court is reflected in our licensing approach.”  

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