Reintroducing beavers into the UK would be a very sensible move. As a natural part of our ecosystem the fact that they are no longer there has an impact. Apart from the substantial reduction in flash floods that will occur should beavers be reintroduced across the UK, they also have a huge impact on biodiversity and the general river ecosystem as well as acting as a filter meaning that the water further downstream is substantially cleaner virtually eliminating all farm runoff.
However at the moment all British schemes to do with reintroducing beavers consist of putting the beavers into relatively small enclosures and then watching their impacts and how well they do.
While I can fully understand people wanting to do this this we can see the impacts they have by looking at reintroduction trials that have occurred in Europe. I understand that the government is trying to bring along the population but the speed of this reintroduction could be accelerated dramatically.
In one of these trials one of the beavers recently escaped and roamed about three miles. At this point he brought down a large tree. While the beaver was quickly recaptured and taken back to where the trial was occurring, the manager of the estate made it clear that they would happily host a pair of these beavers on the land.
While there are some concerns about the impacts that beavers would have, a significant proportion of British landowners would welcome their return. It is certainly true that some of the ponds that they would create would occur in places that we would not like them, however they are likely to occur often in in places that we don’t use very effectively anyway, and their reintroduction and the dams they create are likely to release many floodplains back to far more regular use. While these floodplains would not be able to be built on (or at least not sensibly despite the large number that have been built on in recent years) they would likely be flooded far less regularly and so could be used more of the year round by farmers and other people.
Let us hope that the government decides that these trials have been a success in the near term and starts a proper reintroduction and does not allow narrow special interests to dictate what happens to our natural world.