Proposal granted full licence by Natural England
The government has backed plans to release beavers into the Forest of Dean.
The project will see four beavers - two adults and two kits - released into a 6.5-acre hectare secure enclosure. It is hoped the beavers may be able to improve biodiversity and build dams and ponds.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “The beaver has a special place in English heritage and the Forest of Dean proposal is a fantastic opportunity to help bring this iconic species back to the countryside 400 years after it was driven to extinction.”
Kevin Stannard, Forestry Commission deputy surveyor for the Forest of Dean, added: “We will continue our detailed planning including designing a robust fence to keep the beaver enclosed; securing healthy, disease-free beaver and collecting data from the monitoring of the water flow in the brook. We will continue to give updates as the project develops.”
Scientists believe the beavers may be able to hold back enough water to help with flood alleviation by quickly constructing natural dam structures and creating new habitat.
The proposal has been granted full licence approval by Natural England, who will consider further applications for possible trial releases on a case by case basis, in line with new guidance.
Beavers were driven to extinction in England 400 years ago and were reintroduced in Devon in 2015 for a trial. The beavers will be released into the Forest of Dean in spring 2018.