Iolo Williams welcomes green light for beavers – what does this mean for Wales?

Thursday 24th November 2016

Photo by Ian Sargent

TV presenter Iolo Williams has welcomed a decision by the Scottish Government to give the green light for beavers to stay in Scotland.

The Scottish Government today announced that the Eurasian beaver will be formally recognised as a native species. This is the first formal mammal reintroduction in UK history and The Wildlife Trusts in Wales welcome this decision as it will have positive implications for reintroducing beavers to Wales.

Beavers were once native to Britain but have been extinct for hundreds of years. They are often referred to as ‘ecosystem engineers’ as they can reduce the risk of flooding by creating dams which store rainwater. Beaver dams also trap sediment, which helps to filter the water and reduce the amount of pollution entering river systems. This provides ideal habitats for a range of wildlife from fungi to invertebrates, fish, mammals and birds.

Today’s decision by Scottish Government was based on the evidence that beavers are beneficial for the environment and the economy. Beavers were released in Scotland in 2009 as part of the Scottish Beaver Trial, and more recently the Devon Wildlife Trust recently released another pair of beavers into the River Otter as part of the beaver reintroduction trial in England, which started in 2015.

The Welsh Beaver Project started in 2005 and since then it has been investigating the feasibility of reintroducing beavers back into Wales. By working with a range of different organisations and taking advice from governmental bodies, Wildlife Trusts in Wales are submitting a licence application and hope to reintroduce beavers to Wales in 2017. The project is also investigating the possibility of reintroducing beavers to enclosed sites where they can be used as a management tool to assist with habitat restoration.

Wildlife television presenter Iolo Williams said:

“Today’s announcement is fantastic news. Beavers are great ‘natural engineers’ and create new wetlands that support a diverse range of other wildlife. Seeing beavers in the wild is an inspiring wildlife experience and offers opportunities for responsible wildlife tourism businesses to grow.

"I am glad that the Wildlife Trusts in Wales are following Scotland’s example and continuing its work to reintroduce beavers to Wales in 2017. It’s my dream to see this species back in the wild in Wales.”

You can help reintroduce beavers back into Wales by supporting the project via our donation page.

For more information contact Alicia Leow-Dyke, the Welsh Beaver Project Officer. Email or phone 01597 825722.

Alicia’s post is fully funded thanks to support from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.