Beaver Reintroduction Licence puts Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust one step closer to bringing beavers back to county for 1st time in 400 years

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has expressed its delight at receiving the official licence for its planned enclosed beaver reintroduction at the spectacular Idle Valley Nature Reserve off North Road, Retford.

The licence, issued by Natural England, means that the Trust is on course to bring beavers back to Notts this September.

Speaking about the milestone, the Trust’s Head of Nature Recovery (North) Janice Bradley said: “We’re delighted that our licence application has been approved, as this means we can continue with our preparations on site, including ongoing survey work to record the flora and fauna currently present in the new beaver zone and the construction of the fencing that is required to keep the beavers safe.”

2021 has been billed as a record year for beaver reintroductions in the UK, with the East Midlands leading the charge. Both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Wildlife Trusts are making final preparations to reintroduce beavers to their respective counties for the first time in over 400 years, thanks to funding from Severn Trent’s Great Big Nature Boost and public donations.

The fact that our licence has been approved relatively quickly is a testament to hard work of all the team involved
Janice Bradley, Head of Nature Recovery (North)
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust plans to reintroduce 2 beaver pairs and any dependent kits into a huge (55ha) enclosure at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, to harness the power of natural processes to transform what is already one of the best inland nature-watching places in the region. Over the border, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is preparing to release two beaver families and their kits into a 40 hectare enclosed area of Willington Wetlands reserve in the Trent valley.

Now that both Wildlife Trusts have received their licence approvals the beavers could arrive as early as September.

Janice added: “Securing permission to release beavers is a complex process and the fact that our licence has been approved relatively quickly is a testament to hard work of all the team involved and highlights that we’ve been able to provide Natural England with evidence that we have a great location for the beavers, that our enclosure will be secure and that we have robust systems in place to monitor their impact on other wildlife. We have worked closely with our colleagues in Natural England and the Environment Agency to make sure that this is the right place for beavers, and all our work has been underpinned by specialist re-introduction expertise from the Derek Gow Consultancy and the Species Recovery Unit at Nottingham Trent University.”

Beaver in grass

Photo © Nick Upton/Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Both sites are being made ready for beavers to be rehomed from sites in Scotland and are part of a record number of releases planned by Wildlife Trusts this year - twenty years after bringing the first ever beavers back to Britain. Around 20 beavers will be released this year including to a project in Wales.

The Wildlife Trusts have been at the forefront of beaver reintroduction and projects in Britain ever since Kent Wildlife Trust released the first pair into a fenced area of fenland in 2001, followed by the Scottish Beaver Trial in 2009.

Severn Trent’s support for the beaver reintroductions is linked to the company’s ambitious target to increase biodiversity across an area of 5,000ha within the region by 2027. This will deliver 1% of the Nature Recovery Network’s 500,000ha, within the Government’s 25 year Environment Plan.