Final decision on reintroduction of beavers to Cairngorms expected by end of month
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A final decision on the reintroduction of beavers to Badenoch and Strathspey after an absence of more than 400 years is expected at the end of this month.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has said that its public consultation revealed that more than three-quarters of respondents were in favour of the creatures return to the wild locally.
Three sites have been identified to release beavers in the strath – at the RSPB's Insh Marshes, Rothiemurchus and on land owned by Wildland, owned by Scotland's biggest landowner and richest man, Anders Holch Povlsen.
NatureScot will need to issue a licence to enable the translocation of beavers.
The CNPA has said this was done in mid-October and they expect a final decision within the next fortnight.
CNPA chief executive Grant Moir has provided an update for members of the board for when they meet next Friday in Grantown.
He states: "Over the last nine months the park authority has undertaken extensive engagement on the proposal to bring beavers back to the Cairngorms.
"Following the summer programme of six informal drop-ins, landowner meetings, press releases and social media coverage, the six week formal engagement has ended.
"A total of 515 people responded online, more than 100 people came to one of the six in person events and staff and partners conducted 37 site visits to farms and land managers.
"75.8 per cent of respondents to the formal engagement were supportive of bringing beavers back to the Cairngorms.
"Those who were not supportive had concerns regarding impacts on fisheries and productive farmland, and the applicability of mitigation schemes, specifically impacts on the flood bank.
"All concerns raised formally as part of the engagement formed part of the licence application.
"Any further issues raised informally or after the consultation ended have been passed to NatureScot.
"Park Authority staff continue to work with NatureScot and meet regularly with land managers to inform an adaptive approach which covers any emerging issues.
"The application was passed to NatureScot for their consideration on the 20 October. A decision is expected by the end of November."
More information on beaver ecology, key issues, FAQs and the full engagement report and landowner responses can be found on the Park Authority webpage