London’s first ever beaver release trial will take place in Enfield later this autumn, in a collaboration project between the Council and Capel Manor College.
The trial will see the semi-aquatic mammals introduced at a site within Forty Hall Farm, as part of a wider Natural Flood Management initiative.
The Eurasian Beaver was hunted to extinction in Great Britain but recent studies have shown that their return could help to restore river habitats. Described as a ‘keystone’ species, the presence of these mammals benefits areas in several ways. Beavers’ dams can act as natural flood barriers that protect homes downstream. Their dams can also create wetland habitats where other forms of wildlife can flourish.
Enfield Council is keen to explore natural flood management techniques to reduce the risk of harm from flooding. These techniques restore natural features such as woodlands and wetlands that help to slow the flow of water during periods of extreme rainfall and therefore reduce the risk of flooding downstream, in areas such as Edmonton.
This year there was significant rainfall in England as well as in Europe, which is largely thought to be a result of devastating climate change caused by human activity.
Enfield Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Ian Barnes, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity. Enfield Council has been clear in its Blue and Green Strategy and Climate Action Strategy that rewilding and landscape restoration form a key component of natural flood management. By introducing Eurasian Beavers in an enclosed release trial, we will have the opportunity to increase our understanding of a UK native species while helping the surrounding environment. This is also a great chance to work closely with Capel Manor College and the wider local community, to learn about biodiversity, sustainable water and the ecosystem. It is hoped that this project will also provide an opportunity to engage with, educate and inspire school children.”
Enfield Council hopes to release a wild adult breeding pair and their offspring in an enclosed 6 hectares site. Capel Manor College will carry out many functions as part of the college’s education and training programme and the running of Forty Hall Farm.
The project is subject to appropriate approvals, consent and licensing applications including a Natural England Wildlife Licence. The decision is subject to call in.