Beavers are to be given legal protection in England – but farmers there are unhappy at the lack of consultation from the UK Government.

Just as the Westminster Parliament headed into its summer recess, legislation was introduced that establishes the legal protection of beavers, mirroring the legal status the species already has in Scotland.

English NFU president Minette Batters said: “It is unacceptable that the government has pushed through this legislation at the last minute before summer recess with absolutely no detail and vague platitudes that there will be a management plan published in ‘due course’.

“With the clear impact beavers can have on agricultural land, a clear management plan following consultation with farmers was the least the government should have created before introducing this legislation," she said.

“Farmers are continuing to work around the clock to produce the nation’s food and they will be rightly asking why the government is introducing this last-minute legislation in the same week that it couldn’t find parliamentary time to scrutinise the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement. It is imperative that Defra now brings plans forward to manage beavers and their potential impact as soon as possible.”