The project to bring beavers back to Scotland has received a huge boost today (1 December 2008), thanks to a national funding scheme which turns landfill waste into real benefits for communities and wildlife across the UK.
Biffaward, a multi-million pound environment fund which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services, has pledged to support the Scottish Beaver Trial with grants of up to £1 million. The six-year reintroduction project will see up to four beaver families released in Knapdale, Mid-Argyll in spring 2009.
Gillian French, Biffaward’s Programme Manager, said: “This is a truly unique and groundbreaking project and Biffaward is delighted to be the major funding partner. The Scottish Beaver Trial holds the potential to reintroduce a species back into the UK which offers strong national, environmental and economic benefits. We are fully committed to backing the beavers return to Scotland and will help in whatever way we can.”
Simon Jones, SWT Project Manager for the Scottish Beaver Trial, said: “Bringing back the beaver to Scotland signals the first-ever formal wild reintroduction of a mammal to the UK. The beaver was hunted to extinction and holds the potential to create new wetland habitats which in turn can increase the number of native species. Receiving backing from Biffaward really highlights the biodiversity benefits that the project hopes to confirm. We are delighted to have them on-board as the major funding partner.”
The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), under the project name Scottish Beaver Trial, were granted a licence by the Scottish Government in May 2008 to undertake a scientific trial which aims to assess the impact beavers will have on the Scottish landscape and determine whether a widespread reintroduction is feasible for the future. Working with the Forestry Commission Scotland, who manage the reserve at Knapdale, site preparations for the arrival of the beavers have already started. The Scottish Government has asked Scottish Natural Heritage to coordinate the independent scientific monitoring of the trial, reporting on whether the conditions of the licence are being fully addressed on the ground.
Biffaward, a Landfill Communities Fund scheme, provides grants to community and environmental projects across the UK, using money generated from landfill tax credits. The funding for the Scottish Beaver Trial is part of the Biffaward Partnership Scheme, an invitation-only funding stream for projects with nationally important cultural or biodiversity benefits.
Biffaward’s funding is set to help the project monitor the beavers and their impact on their surroundings, as well as develop information points allowing visitors to the area to learn more about beavers and their habitat.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Clara Govier, Communications Manager, SWT
Tel: 0131 312 4747
Gemma Mitchell, PR Officer, Biffaward
Tel: 01636 670083
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Images are available in support of this story on request and must be credited to the “Scottish Beaver Trial”.
- Biffaward is a main funding partner of the Scottish Beaver Trial. In 1997 Biffa Waste Services agreed to donate landfill tax credits to the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT) to administer under the fund name Biffaward. Grants made from the fund currently amount to £100 million, supporting many worthwhile projects. Biffa Waste Services Limited is one of the largest single suppliers of waste management services in the UK. It collects, treats, recovers and disposes of municipal, commercial and industrial waste nationwide. It is ultimately owned by a private equity consortium comprising Montagu Private Equity, Global Infrastructure Partners, Uberior Co-Investments Limited and other co-investors www.biffaward.org
- The Scottish Beaver Trial is a partnership project between the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and host Forestry Commission Scotland to undertake a time-limited trial reintroduction of the European beavers to Knapdale, Mid-Argyll. It is part of Scotland’s Species Action Framework, which sets out a strategic approach to species management in Scotland. The Scottish Government has asked Scottish Natural Heritage to coordinate the independent scientific monitoring of the trial, reporting on whether the conditions of the licence are being fully addressed on the ground. For more information visit www.scottishbeavers.org.uk
- The Scottish Government approved the application of the trial reintroduction in May 2007. This followed a two-month long consultation period with local residents and key stakeholders. The results of this consultation showed that 73% of respondents were in favour of the trial reintroduction.
- The Scottish Wildlife Trust is the largest voluntary body working for all the wildlife of Scotland, representing more than 32,000 members who care for wildlife and the environment. SWT seeks to raise public awareness of threatened habitats and species and manages over 120 reserves Scotland-wide.
- Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park are owned by the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), a registered charity, number SC004064. RZSS was founded by visionary lawyer Thomas Gillespie. The Society was set up ‘to promote, facilitate and encourage the study of zoology and kindred subjects and to foster and develop amongst the people an interest in and knowledge of animal life’.
- Forestry Commission Scotland manages the trial site of Knapdale Forest as part of the national forest estate. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and is responsible for the protection and expansion of Scotland’s forests and woodlands. FCS manages the national forest estate for a range of public benefits – economic, social and environmental. It works closely with a range of national and local stakeholders and partners to deliver the Scottish Government’s goals vested in the Scottish Forestry Strategy.
- Scottish Natural Heritage is the Scottish Government’s statutory advisor on the conservation, enhancement, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the natural heritage. For further information on SNH, please visit our website at www.snh.gov.uk)