BEAVERS could be back living wild in Britain for the first time in 400 years within 18 months after a groundbreaking wildlife project took a major step forward yesterday.
The board of Scottish Natural Heritage has agreed to apply to the Scottish executive for a licence to import 20 European beavers from Norway, which will be released in the Knapdale Forest in Argyll .
If the five-year trial is successful, it will pave the way for a full-scale re-introduction, the first native mammal re-introduction ever in Britain.
The Mammals Trust UK, a conservation organisation, will pay £150,000 towards the £490,000 cost of the project. SNH has already committed £250,000 and is looking for sponsorship or private donations to make up the shortfall.