Beavers, not concrete barriers, can save Britain from floods

As the start date of COP26 draws closer, and just when we are assailed by daily proof of climate chaos, it is easy to think that this is the only threat to the global environment. It is not. Systemic biological loss assails the world and, while it is closely related to the issues of climate, it is a standalone matter with many separate antecedents. The English in particular should know all about it. On what is called the Biological Intactness Index we are judged to be the seventh most degraded national environment on Earth. Species loss here originates from many causes, but primarily from 80 years of intensive agriculture. This

Letters: Why do we need beavers?

It’s not about money Sir: Professor Tombs criticises Alex Massie (Letters, 22 August) for ignoring evidence when the latter claims that economic concerns ‘no longer matter’ in great political decisions. But the evidence from the last Scottish referendum tends to support Massie. At the beginning of the Scottish referendum campaign in 2014, polls showed 26 per cent of Scottish voters favoured independence. The Better Together campaign amassed compelling evidence that independence would be a financial disaster and set about presenting this to the Scottish public in an exercise they christened Project Fear. The result was a rise of support for independence to 45 per cent, and it is widely considered

Beware of beaver fever

Exmoor has just witnessed the first beaver birth in more than 400 years. Last August, fisherman Simon Cooper argued for caution when it comes to reintroducing the extinct species. The verdict is in: hooray for beavers! The rodents that once roamed the wetlands of Britain, hunted to extinction in the 16th century, have been gradually returning to our rivers for some years now. The first, discovered on the River Tay in 2006, had either escaped from enclosures or, more probably, were deliberately (and illegally) released into the wild. In England the first were found on the River Otter in Devon in 2013. Following a five-year report by the Devon Wildlife