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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-05173: Mark Ruskell (Mid Scotland and Fife)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 30 November 2016

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-04978 by Roseanna Cunningham on 24 November 2016, by what date it will complete the (a) Strategic Environmental and (b) Habitats Regulations Assessment, and how it will protect the welfare of the beavers while this is being carried out.

Answered by: Roseanna Cunningham 13 December 2016

The Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) of our proposed plan to allow beavers to remain in Scotland is expected to be completed in January 2017. We are also required to consider whether a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is required. The approach to the SEA and its timing depends on what issues are highlighted by the HRA.

It is not illegal to shoot a beaver at present, provided it is done humanely and in accordance with the laws on use of firearms. However, we continue to strongly discourage this as an option other than as a last resort. Land managers should work with Scottish Natural Heritage on practical long-term management solutions that will continue to work if it is confirmed that beavers become a protected species in Scotland. We have previously said that if evidence emerges that beavers are being culled in unacceptable circumstances we will consider the use of Nature Conservation Orders to prohibit their killing on specified areas of land.