It is a widely recognised fact, that beavers reduce flooding. The main way that they do this is my slowing the flow of water through the river system. This means that you don’t end up getting a flash floods to the same degree. It is true that beaver dams can cause local flooding. However the way that beavers create dams, this localized flooding is generally small in the heart of a valley (where there is a water course anyway). My recent trip to Devon to see their beavers highlighted this. Despite the stream running alongside a farmers field, through a small area of woodland, and the beavers having created a series of dams within the woods, the farmers field was unaffected. Now while there are plenty of places where building has occurred in foolish places, beaver dams will reduce flooding damage in the country as a whole.
So why is the NFU against this. This is a good question, indeed the NFU another organisations like it essentially been against all forms of re-wilding in their entirety.
It is a simple fact that’s farming in the UK has been horrifically bad for the environment.this is been in the form of killing off what they call pests, both in terms of insects and mammals, runoff of pesticides and insecticides from their farms and the large eradication of wild spaces between farms.
Farms are given a large amount of money by the government for looking after their land so that it benefits the environment. We must make some actually do something for that money, and make it clear to the NFU that is not the only organisation to be thought of when trying to improve our biodiversity.
It is true that in small places beavers may cause localized flooding. These places can be dealt with relatively simply, however for many of these places the simple reason is that land that was once given over to floodplains are now being used for something else.
We need to re-wild, our country and ecosystem will be more capable of coping with global warming if it is operating as it did more like before humans arrived. Farming voices are loud but our representatives must not give them more of a voice than they deserve. The country’s general population is forcefully behind the majority of re-wilding projects, particularly when it comes to beavers. It should also be noted that the biodiversity that beavers bring is likely to be highly beneficial two farms in the surrounding area.