A dam shame! Forestry chiefs shelve plans to introduce flood-fighting beavers in Lydbrook

By Carmelo Garcia in Environment

FORESTRY chiefs have ditched plans to introduce beavers this summer to help control flooding in Lydbrook.

Nature’s civil engineer, the beaver, was expected to be introduced into the Greathough Brook at the end of August but Forestry Commission workers now say it won’t be possible.

The proposals were first aired at a meeting at Lydbrook Memorial Hall in March when experts explained how beavers could prevent flooding by creating a series of dams at the brook above the village.

Local district councillor Sid Phelps (Green), who is a supporter of the scheme, said he was extremely disappointed by the delay.

He said: “It’s a real shame that this project doesn’t seem to be going ahead this summer.

“There were around 80 people at the public meeting and everyone was very keen to see the animal introduced in the area.

“The Forestry Commission haven’t told us why the beavers aren’t being introduced. I really hope this project isn’t kicked into the long grass.”

The Forestry Commission says it will continue to run ecology and hydrology monitoring throughout the winter and make further announcements on the project at a later date.

Lydbrook has been flooded several times in recent years and beavers can create series of dams capable of retaining large amounts of water in Greathough Brook which would otherwise cascade down into Lydbrook.

Derek Gow, an expert who spoke at the March meeting, told Lydbrook residents how putting beavers into Greathough Brook could help avert flooding.

Dams built by beavers act like a sponge, he said and mitigate flooding by storing and then slowly releasing water.

As well as holding back water, the beavers are also said to increase biodiversity in woodland areas with some claiming their activities can help any rare species thrive.

Although some engineering work has been carried out to stop the floods of 2012, which wrecked homes and businesses, many believe it also needs natural solutions to slow the flow of the water.

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