There is coverage running in ITV News, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Yorkshire Post following calls from 60 conservation organisations, country estates, experts and campaigners for the government to commit to a strategy to reintroduce beavers to England this year.
In a letter led by the Beaver Trust, the government is also being urged to ensure there is no moratorium on the current system of licensing beaver release projects, and to speed up the application process.
A five-year project by Devon Wildlife Trust to study the role of the beavers on the River Otter – which concluded earlier this year – found that beavers can help reduce flooding through dam-building, improve water quality, create habitat for other wildlife, and boost the local economy through eco-tourism.
With the agreement of the Devon Wildlife Trust, Defra has taken the decision to extend the River Otter beaver trial until the 31 August 2020.
A Defra spokesperson said:
We are committed to reintroducing formerly native species, such as beavers, where there are clear environmental benefits.
Beavers have a special place in English heritage and can play a role in creating new havens for wildlife as well as boosting our natural biodiversity. We welcome applications for trial reintroductions of beavers where these benefits are clear.
Natural England is analysing the results of the Devon trial along with a range of other experiences with beavers across the UK and in other countries, to help to inform decisions on the status of beaver in England, including potential management and licensing approaches.