The CLA is running a survey to understand how releasing beavers on the Isle of Wight would impact land managers.
We would like to understand in more detail any perceived concerns or benefits that landowners on the island have relating to the proposed release, in order to ensure these are communicated centrally.
The CLA’s view on species reintroductions has always been nuanced, given the range of views of our members. Reintroductions are often done on private land and are supported by some members, however others, including those living near to reintroduction sites worry about the impacts on their land and business.
There are conservation, social and economic advantages to moving or reintroducing species in certain circumstances, however any change in ecology brings a risk of harm to the environment, land use and people.
Reintroductions and translocations of species are a standard aspect of nature conservation and frequently pass without comment, however with larger mammals or birds, especially predators, there is more controversy. Sea eagles, beavers, lynx and pine marten have all been the subject of debate.
The CLA’s experience engaging with the River Otter Beaver Trial shows that landowner concerns can be assuaged with proactive management, clear communication, support when problems arise and compensation for damage caused. Even when this is in place, however, there may be additional unforeseen problems, especially as populations increase and spread.
The CLA has taken a position that there must be clear guidelines, research, consultation with local people including landowners, a clear management framework in place once the reintroduction takes place and an exit strategy in case of problems.
The CLA would like to understand in more detail any perceived concerns or benefits that landowners on the island have relating to the proposed release in order to ensure these are communicated centrally.
If you have any questions or need to speak with the team, please call CLA South East Rural Adviser Lucy Charman on 01264 313434 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is happening on the Isle of Wight?
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust hopes to gain permission to release beavers to the Isle of Wight with the aim that their long term impacts will have positive effects on improving habitats, water purification, providing natural flood protections and silt capture whilst addressing nature and species recovery objectives.
As part of its aspirations for a release of beavers on the island, a consultation was launched by the trust in spring 2022 to gather opinions of local stakeholders and residents - 70,000 addresses were mailed and a total of 4,883 responses were received.