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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-12989: Peter Chapman (North East Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 24 November 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reports that beaver populations in Tayside are growing and expanding their territory without protection, and that there is evidence of serious environmental damage, wide-scale tree felling, flooding of farmland along the Tay and its tributaries and numbers of beavers in this area already being too high, whether they should be given protected status in 2018.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 11 December 2017

Scottish Ministers announced on 24 November 2016 that the beaver populations in Knapdale in Argyll and in the Tay and Earn catchments can remain in Scotland, subject to satisfactory completion of a Strategic Environmental Assessment and a Habitats Regulations Assessment. It was also announced that the intention is to place a Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) before the Scottish Parliament to add beavers to Schedule 2 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994, to grant beavers European Protected Species status. This will be arranged during the course of 2018.

The Habitats Directive provides for licensed control of protected species to allow management actions that would otherwise be unlawful. Licences can be made available to prevent serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries; and preserving public health or public safety.