Community vision

Community vision

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 - i.e. a 'community vision'.

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 engagement consisted of a branded cart working as a visible station for the consultation, supported flyers promoting an online survey for people unable to stop to talk on the day.

Three members of the icecream architecture team worked in collaboration with three members and volunteers of Anstruther Improvements Association to consult people in Anstruther about the long-term improvements they want to see to the Dreel Burn area. Altogether 260 people were engaged, including 35 in-depth interviews and 21 online survey responses.

Key conclusions from this engagement are summarised as follows:

How could the community benefit from long-term improvements to the Dreel Burn?

  • Increasing the access and network of paths around the Dreel Burn while increasing the plant diversity and number of trees. Creating spaces such as play parks and picnic sites for people to use would be beneficial to the community and would contribute to making the Dreel Burn feel safer for people and improve their wellbeing.
  • Having more events related to the burn would also contribute to building awareness and attract more usage by the local community. All these improvements would contribute to a better connection to nature while enhancing the habitats and providing nature walking. It could also become a resource for learning and education, becoming an asset for the community.
  • Improvement to the local food system and agriculture would allow the community to access good quality and local food, creating a better bond with the local farmers. A better relationship between local farmers/producers and the community could be built through improvements to the Dreel Burn.

Do you have any concerns for the Dreel Burn?

  • The water quality was the most prominent concern. The Dreel Burn appears polluted to many respondents, although they did not know exactly how true this was and asked. The agriculture and industrial run-o were said to be concerns and likely factors. On this topic, there are concerns that there is a lack of awareness among farmers and industry. Respondents voiced concerns that flooding (like recent floods on the East Coast) could become more regular.
  • The wildlife decrease has been noted by respondents, especially the number of varieties of birds and fish. Others did not know what type of wildlife was present at the Dreel Burn. There were concerns about invasive species such as hogweed and ivy growth, which required more awareness and management to be responsive to sites of concern.
  • Some of the conversations highlighted concerns about litter present along the Dreel Burn and a risk of too much development.
  • The access to the Dreel Burn was as much a concern as a benefit. There is limited access to the Burn and a lack of accessible paths along steep sides. Some respondents do not feel safe walking or letting children visit the Dreel Burn.
  • Other comments, though broader in their intent for Anstruther than the Dreel Burn itself, highlighted concerns for local businesses. Respondents felt that local businesses do not get enough support or attention.

What long-term improvement would you like to see for the Dreel Burn and the surrounding area?

  • A clean river with good water quality that is regularly tested.
  • Increased stocks and varieties of fish.
  • Having more trees and improved biodiversity and habitats.
  • An improved visitor and local oer with more access and trails that run from the town right to the Gilllingshill reserve and reservoir and a better link to Dreelside Walk. This network would include nature interpretation to know what to see at the burn and amenities.
  • A change in legislation for better environmental protection that would impact agricultural and industrial practices. Contributing to implementing agriculture practices that benefit the Dreel Burn. The river would be better considered by all stakeholders and the public with increased communication and information about it.
  • The local food would be valued and promoted, with limited imports of cheap food in the area. The local farmers would be better supported.
  • Any new housing schemes would promote sustainability and food growth. Businesses and the economy would support the burn and be supported by it, developing a sustainable relationship between land and industry.

For further detail on the engagement activity, and deeper insights on what mattered most to people and ideas for what can be practically done to improve the Dreel Burn - please click here for our May 2024 community newsletter and click below for the full consultation report.

This engagement activity, alongside contributions from other local stakeholders, including those actively involved on the Dreel Burn Project Steering Group, will help us validate, and, if necessary, update the current community vision for the area:

We 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.

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