Beavers: licences for development

NatureScot is responsible for issuing licences to permit actions related to development that might affect beavers. You should apply to us for a licence if your work could otherwise result in an offence in relation to beavers. In most cases, providing that the development proposal will not damage lodges or breeding burrows or affect beaver dams, a licence is unlikely to be required. 

A licence can only be granted if you can meet the three strict European protected species licensing tests.

How to apply

Fill in the application form and email it to [email protected].

Download the Licence application form - beavers

Read our Guidance for land managers and on ecological and legal definitions for beavers to see whether you are likely to need a licence.

Read the Guidance notes for application for a licence for European protected species

Read the Guidance notes on providing supporting information for a licence for European protected species

Survey and mitigation

We recommend that a suitably experienced person carries out a beaver survey if beavers are likely to be present on or near a development site.

Planning authorities must consider the same strict tests as the licensing authority when considering any planning application that might affect beavers. A competent survey at an early stage can help to avoid unnecessary delays to licence and planning applications.

A species protection plan may need to be drawn up if beavers are present on or near a development site.

Licence returns

A condition of any licence is that you must submit a licence return to us.

You should submit your return information using our Licence return form - beavers. Email us your completed form, giving your name and licence number in the subject line.

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.

Find out more

Data Protection notice


If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team

01463 725364

[email protected]

Last updated: