Wild Trout Trust view on beaver reintroduction in England - summary

Based on extensive research and information gathering, WTT’s current view on beavers is that:

  • they are already in the wild in Britain, at least in their hundreds, and will spread.
  • beavers have tremendous public appeal — they are very widely seen as cute, clever, hardworking and they live in families. 
  • we recognise the environmental and societal benefits that beavers can bring, in many, but not all situations.
  • beaver dams may harm populations of trout and some other fish species, especially in low flow years, by impeding up- and downstream migrations and loss of spawning habitat.
  • proposals to introduce beavers should be assessed on a catchment basis with full engagement from all stakeholders, including fishery managers and riparian owners. 
  • beavers need management: there is a pressing need for a policy framework and effective management plans (including trapping /​relocation and lethal control) properly funded, implemented and regulated.
  • rivers in England are in poor ecological condition. We see an opportunity to make rivers fit for beavers before they are released in order to minimise potential impacts and conflicts. For example, this can include creating managed buffer strips, giving beavers the space to do the good things that they have the potential to do and the river the space to respond.

Summary position (PDF).

More detail on the Wild Trout Trust’s view on beaver introduction in England.

More information on beavers is available in our Beaver Resource Hub.