A BID to bring back lynx to the Scottish Borders for the first time in around 1,000 years has been rejected by the UK Government.

The Lynx UK Trust wanted a licence for a trial reintroduction of six Eurasian lynx to be released into Kielder Forest.

The scientists argued it would create a more natural ecosystem for controlling deer populations.

But the plans were met with resistance from sheep farmers on both sides of the Border as well as other conservation groups.

This week Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced he has accepted Natural England's advice not to grant a licence for the scheme.

In a letter to the Lynx UK Trust, Mr Gove said: "Kielder Forest is an area where the Forest Commission has been taking action to manage and restore important habitats and ecosystem functions to enhance biodiversity.

"This has included the release of hundreds of water vole and the removal of mink from the Tyne and monitoring the return and spread of pine martens to understand options for their recovery.

"The area has also seen significant recolonisation by a number of bird species as a result of continued efforts, all of which is positive news."

The news has been welcomed by concerned Scottish farmers who feared the roaming cats would start picking off their flocks.

Local MSP Rachael Hamilton has campaigned on their behalf.

She said: “My colleague John Lamont MP and I have campaigned tirelessly to stop the reintroduction of lynx near the Border and I am glad that a strong evidence based approach has resulted in this decision.

“The reintroduction of lynx in the Kielder Forest could have been disastrous for many Borders’ farmers, who were rightly worried about their livestock.

“The lack of sound evidence and a weak implementation plan mean this application was not robust enough to stand up to scrutiny.

“Ultimately, it is a victory for common sense”