Beaver populations in Scotland could ‘get out of hand’ if measures are not taken to mitigate their impact on agricultural land, farmers have warned.
Sharing their concerns with Scottish Land and Estates and Scottish Government Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod MSP, Tayside farmers said beavers had already caused damage to river banks and trees in the area.
The Minister saw how reliant the low lying farmland around Meigle is on field drainage systems and the problems that can occur if drainage channels such as the burns become blocked by beaver dams.
Beef and arable farmer Adrian Ivory, said: “There may be parts of Scotland where beaver can exist without too many problems, but that is not the case on low lying agricultural ground where the increasing water levels they create is a concern.
“Experience from other parts of Europe tells us that beaver come into conflict with human activity in a number of different ways and they have to be robustly managed to avoid this getting out of hand.”
Dr McLeod said she was expecting a report from Scottish Natural Heritage in May outlining options for the future of the beaver population in Scotland, after which a decision will be taken as to whether they will stay in Scotland and, if so, what their status in terms of protection and management will be.