Dreel Burn, Fife Coast & Countryside

Dreel Burn, Fife Coast & Countryside

Key Facts

  • The Dreel Burn is the principal stream of the East Neuk of Fife; it is 11.8km in length and is tidal at its lowest reaches. It carries water from the land to the Forth Estuary: its beaches, and shellfish and fishing grounds.
  • The project covers the entire watershed - c 5,000 hectares of agricultural landscape (circa 20 landowners) and the coastal town of Anstruther.
  • Project is using CreditNature’s Nature Investment Certificates (NICs). These represent an upfront investment in a time-limited nature restoration project.
  • Ownership of Certificates provides rights to Nature Credits which represent verified units of ecosystem improvement arising from the project that can be reported for corporate ESG or traded for a financial return.

What is the project doing for Nature and Environment?

  • The project is designed for improved water management, water quality, soil health, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, fish passage, nutrient loss and community benefit.
  • Specific physical interventions include sediment traps, riparian buffers, bunds, leaky barriers, wetlands, improved access paths and community/visitor facilities.
  • The project will also involve commitments from farmers to enhance their sustainable land management practices to reduce nutrient run-off into the Dreel Burn.
  • Following a rigorous year-long process, working closely with Accounting for Nature® (“AfN”) and their panel of leading scientists, CreditNature have pioneered a method that will help companies to evidence the nature positive impact of investments, called Natural Asset Recovery Investment Analytics ("NARIA").
  • "NARIA" fully aligns with reporting and disclosure requirements of the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (“TNFD”) Guidelines, the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”), and other global frameworks.

How are communities engaged and benefiting?

  • The Dreel Burn project is working with the community who live in the catchment of the Dreel Burn, to develop consensus on how the Dreel Burn could be improved for the benefit of the community.
  • Thanks to funding through the Dreel Burn Investment Readiness Partnership community engagement activities were organised on the day of the 2024 Duck Race event, an annual event that attracts many families and visitors to the Dreel Burn.
  • The community want a clean, biodiverse and vibrant river, valued by the farming, fishing, rural and urban communities of the East Neuk.
  • To achieve this we will improve the burn as a source of water and precious green space for local residents and visitors, and as a natural habitat for wildlife.
  • The project will benefit and protect the sustainability of key industries in the wider catchment area, including agriculture, coastal fishing, shellfish breeding and tourism.
  • We aim to transform local attitudes towards the burn, to ensure that the project’s positive outcomes are sustainable and enduring.
  • See the Dreel Burn Community Vision page for more details.

What is the business model employed to fund the project?

  • Due to the relative small size of the project, we anticipate funding can be achieved by a combination of private sector sponsors, government grants and local authority support.
  • The project developer is the community. Led by Anstruther Improvements Association with expert support drawn from CreditNature, Fife Coast & Countryside Trust, Forth Rivers Trust, Icecream Architecture, James Hutton Institute & Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
  • Employing CreditNature’s Nature Investment Certificates (NIC) enable investment into a new type of 'High Integrity Digital Nature Asset', where exclusive benefits of NIC ownership provides access to a comprehensive dashboard to monitor the owner's positive impacts on nature.
  • Template legal agreements for landowners already developed by CreditNature. Carbon is not included in the Nature Credits. Landowners retain their rights to make their own claims on sequestered carbon, through either a partitioned or stacked arrangement.
  • Landowner action in relation to enhancements to sustainable land management practices can be captured as part of the private sector contribution to the project.

Describe the partnerships formed and how they support project viability?

  • The Dreel Burn Investment Readiness Partnership, funded by the Facility for Investment Ready Nature in Scotland (FIRNS) grant scheme, is highly collaborative, with co-design between interested parties being key to our core values of transparency and integrity.
  • Understanding and reflecting the needs of all stakeholders, including landowners, is fundamental to our approach and is what we believe will be the key to its success.
  • The partners are Anstruther Improvements Association (AIA), Apella Advisors, CreditNature, Fife Coast & Countryside Trust, Fife Council, James Hutton Institute, North Star Transition, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
  • Alongside the Dreel Burn project, the partnership is supported a wider initiative, Nature Finance Fife.
  • The Nature Finance Fife programme is designing a place-based approach for financing landscape recovery projects that will serve the needs of people and the planet.
  • It will do so by identifying reliable funding and revenue streams to support the development activity required to develop, at scale, a Fife-wide pipeline of place-based projects. The Dreel Burn is the pilot for this programme.
  • This broader programme and partnership will provide a regional level of consistency and reliability to individual projects, that will materially improve their risk profiles, and thereby private sector appetite provide funding.
  • Crucially, it will also support regional level join-up between major green/blue/grey infrastructure projects across Fife and a reliable source of funding for on-going nature restoration activity.

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