Moray charity Trees for Life hopeful of success in court challenge
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A Moray-based charity believes its court challenge to the Scottish Government’s beaver killing policy could result in a win-win for farmers and nature.
Earlier this month at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Trees for Life presented detailed arguments to claim the government agency NatureScot is breaking the law by failing to make the killing of the protected species a genuine last resort.
A ruling is expected later this summer.
Alan McDonnell, Trees for Life’s conservation manager, said: "We are very happy with how the hearing went and are looking forward to a positive outcome that will move the thinking on around how nature and farmers can both benefit from having beavers back in our landscapes.
"The case has shone a spotlight on how moving, not shooting, beavers can underpin a more nature-friendly approach.
"This would allow beavers to do what they do best – helping to tackle the collapse in biodiversity, creating wildlife tourism opportunities and boosting natural flood management.
"It’s important that solutions work for farmers.
"We want farmers to have options that help them avoid being forced to shoot much-loved animals, and for those co-existing with beavers to receive financial support."
Trees for Life, which is sited at Findhorn, state that beavers create wetlands that can significantly benefit other wildlife, reduce flooding and improve water quality.
However, the charity also recognises that the animals sometimes need managing if they cause damage to farmland.
A ruling in Trees for Life’s favour will allow suitable new sites to be identified across Scotland, in consultation with local people, to which beavers can be moved rather than being shot.
Currently the Scottish Government refuses to allow such relocations.
In 2019, NatureScot issued licences to kill 87 beavers – one fifth of the Scottish population.
A public crowdfunder begun by Trees for Life's to cover the judicial review’s costs raised over £60,000.
See a summary of Trees for Life’s arguments to the Court of Session here