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Advice and recommendations for beaver reintroduction, management and licensing in England


Re-introducing beavers can be a powerful nature-based solution for tacking flood risk, improving water quality, dramatically increasing biodiversity and generating eco-tourism, but it can also lead to conflict and adverse impacts if it causes localised flooding or fells valued trees on farmland or other private land. This report reviews research and experience in the UK, Europe and North America to help inform the government’s decision on the future of wild-living beavers in England, and to meet the ambition set in the 25 Year Environment Plan to reintroduce this species.

The report sets out Natural England’s advice on how to ensure that future beaver releases in England maximise the benefits that beavers can bring and minimise risks or negative impacts to land use, infrastructure, other environmental features or livelihoods. It advises that any further releases need to comply with Defra’s Code for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations in England, which is based on international guidelines. Re-introducing beavers at a measured pace to locations where it is possible to maximise their environmental, social and economic benefits and minimise risk of conflict with local communities and business interests will allow habitats and species to adapt to the presence of beavers, and give people time to get used to living alongside beaver, together with building knowledge and capability to manage negative impacts.

Although not a ‘how-to’ guide, Appendix C contains a table of approaches for mitigating the risks associated with beaver re-introduction.


Guidance type/project stage

  • Governance
  • Implementation
  • Ecosystem management
  • Planning
  • Ecosystem restoration


  • Freshwater
  • Farmland
  • Ponds
  • Rewilding
  • Rivers
  • Wetland
  • Woodland

Challenges addressed

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Biodiversity
  • Food production
  • Health, wellbeing & cultural value
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Natural flood management
  • Water quality

Source | Natural England

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