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NFU Scotland statement regarding judicial review of beaver licencing

The judicial review into NatureScot’s approach to beaver licencing has been published – please see: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/cos-general-docs/2021csoh108.pdf?sfvrsn=9ea84440_1 

Of the five complaints under consideration, four were rejected by the court.  The court did support a ruling that places a requirement on NatureScot to communicate the reasons for the granting of licences in writing.

NFU Scotland President Martin Kennedy said: “We welcome the recognition by the courts that, for the most part, the beaver management framework and licencing system, as established and developed by Scottish Government, NatureScot, land managers and wildlife organisations is appropriate and proportionate.  

“In our opinion, the framework remains a positive platform to review, balance and resolve conflicts between the growing population of beavers and land management in a pragmatic and sensible way.

“To those impacted by beavers on their land, the licence system has been a valuable way of protecting their farm from economic and environmental damage, with lethal control remaining a last resort. 

“We will now look to work with NatureScot and other stakeholders in the coming days to assess the implications of the ruling.  However, we welcome the clarification from NatureScot in its statement  - https://www.nature.scot/naturescot-statement-beaver-judicial-review-ruling  - that the ruling does not affect the legality of any acts carried out under the affected licences.  We also welcome its statement that in those specific situations where beavers pose a risk of serious damage to farmland or where they occasionally cause a public health and safety concern, NatureScot will issue species control licences accordingly.

“Given the importance of the licencing system to our members, we took legal advice and were represented alongside others in the judicial review proceedings.  We thank the many members who chose to support our legal case financially, recognising the significance of this review and the implications that the result would have for all future species management schemes in Scotland.”  

Author: Bob Carruth

Date Published:


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