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22 October, 2021

NatureScot’s beaver management: judicial review

We want to clarify a range of inaccuracies in media reporting, following a judicial challenge of our approach to beaver management, brought by the Trees for Life organisation

Of the five complaints under consideration by the Court, four were rejected entirely. The Court found only one complaint to be well founded -  that NatureScot must give reasons for issuing a licence – on what amounts to a technical point of law.

In light of this part of the ruling, we will amend existing licenses when needed, to show that culling is a necessary last resort, due to issues such as agricultural damage.

The court decision does not affect the legality of any acts carried out under current species control licence for beaver.

We welcome the Court’s broad vindication of our licensing process. We have been working with partners for 25 years to bring back beavers to Scotland because of the many benefits they bring to both people and nature, particularly in this crucial time of climate emergency. But in certain circumstances, beavers can cause problems. In those specific situations where beavers pose a risk of serious damage to farmland or where they occasionally cause a public health and safety concern, we issue species control licences accordingly.


Contact information

Cat Synnot

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

’S e NatureScot buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Bidh sinn a’ neartachadh àrainneachd na h-Alba agus a’ brosnachadh dhaoine gu barrachd suim a chur ann an nàdar. Tha e mar phrìomhachas againn gum bi nàdar na h-Alba beairteach agus gun dèilig sinn gu h-èifeachdach le èiginn na gnàth-shìde. Tha an tuilleadh fiosrachaidh aig no air Twitter aig