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Nature Conservation

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL6857, tabled on 14 July 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risks to humans arising from re-wilding in England.

Answered on

27 July 2020

Rewilding often includes the re-introduction of species to restore ecosystems and natural processes. Any reintroduction or conservation translocation of a species should follow the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) guidelines. As part of this, a rewilding project should consider the risk or impacts that the reintroduction may have on humans.

The Government is currently developing of Code of Best Practice and Guidance for assessing the merits and risks of a reintroduction proposal. We would expect any such proposal to follow this, which will set the standards that a project needs to meet where a licence for release is needed.

Natural England already considers risks to humans in its assessment of a reintroduction proposal. The Government has also taken action to address such risks. For example, we have limited the potential sources for importation of beaver to ensure that animals released in England are disease-free.