The Montgomeryshire branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has called plans to release beavers into an enclosure at the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve a short-sighted move.
Responding to the plans, FUW Montgomeryshire county executive officer Emyr Wyn Davies said:
We believe that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that this animal does not pose a threat to livestock and the people living here, including bringing disease into the area.
"That’s just one of many concerns and we are extremely worried about this short-sighted move."
Other FUW concerns
Other concerns raised by the FUW about the reintroduction of the beaver include the animals damming watercourses, which could severely impact the adjacent agriculture land; the risk of the animals escaping their enclosure and the low lying levels of the Dyfi, which are already prone to flooding through natural means - the introduction of an animal which dams watercourses by instinct is likely to exacerbate the flooding propensity for this area.
We must also consider what happens if a landholding in close proximity to the proposed enclosure enters a Welsh government agri-environment scheme to increase biodiversity habitats by tree planting, and on a Welsh government inspection is found to be in breach of contract because of vegetation damage by beaver activity - which organisation compensates the at-loss landowner?
"Furthermore, will NRW [Natural Resources Wales] have a legal obligation to monitor and clear debris entering water courses as a direct result of beavers felling timber?" Emyr Wyn Davies questioned.
He added that whilst the farming community is supportive of increasing biodiversity and habitats, this must not come at the expense of people living in an area.
"Let’s also not forget the ambulances getting through to Bronglais Hospital on a stretch of road next to the proposed release site that they've only just stopped flooding whenever it rains - the alternative is a 60-mile detour."