natural beauty - Marsh Marigolds in the Clyst Valley Regional Park

Defra and the Environment Agency have awarded £100k to East Devon District Council to drive private investment and tackle climate change.

As part of the Council’s ambitious plans for the Clyst Valley Regional Park, a new ‘Crystal Clear Clyst Bond’ will help to address the climate emergency and investigate schemes to improve the environment in the Park.

The £100k fund, plus an additional £10k from EDDC, will be used to set up an Environmental Impact Bond.

Cllr Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment, said: 

Along with my fellow Councillors for Climate Action we have an objective to become a carbon neutral council by 2040. The EDDC Climate Change Strategy 2020 – 2025 sets out how we will reduce our carbon emissions year on year and mitigate against the threat that climate will place on our communities. The strategy is being developed following research by Exeter University to establish our current carbon footprint. Our strategy will encompass all our 10 Nature Reserves and open spaces by increasing natural habitat and increase tree planting to sequester carbon and allow nature to recover, and this funding will help in our exiting plans for the Clyst Valley Regional Park.

Simon Bates, East Devon District Council’s Green Infrastructure Project Manager, said:

Watching the last episode of David Attenborough’s ‘Perfect Planet’ motivated me to act on the climate and nature emergency happening now. In the Clyst Valley, our goal is to triple tree cover through planting and natural regeneration. For this to happen, farmers need to be persuaded that converting farmland to forest is financially more attractive than any alternative land use. We want to explore whether an Environmental Impact Bond is the solution. This would blend cash from publicly funded grant schemes and private finance from Woodland Carbon and Biodiversity Credits. With major companies such as EON, EDF and many smaller environmental start-up businesses on our doorstep, we expect high demand for voluntary carbon credits in particular.

Sir Harry Studholme, Devon based farmer, forester (formerly Chairman of the Forestry Commission) and the Honorary Treasurer of the Devon County Agricultural Association, said:

The natural environment has to be at the heart of how we both adapt to Climate Change and mitigate the consequences. This grant gives us an extraordinary opportunity to be at the forefront of exploring how we can do this in East Devon.

This work is just one of 27 projects across England to receive up to £100,000 each as part of the ground-breaking £10 million Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund.

Projects to restore kelp forests, create new woodland, deliver natural flood risk management, and improve water quality are among the schemes to benefit from the pioneering new fund to drive private investment in nature and tackle climate change, Defra and the Environment Agency have announced today (14 July 2021).

Funding has been awarded to environmental groups, businesses and local authorities to invest in a broad range of projects that deliver environmental benefits while also demonstrating a wide range of innovative approaches to generating revenues from ecosystem services. In doing so, these projects will protect and enhance the environment in line with the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

Revenues will be generated through the sale of carbon and biodiversity units, natural flood management benefits and through reduced water treatment costs. In developing these revenue streams, the Fund will help create a pipeline of projects for the private sector to invest in, and develop new funding models that can be scaled and replicated elsewhere.

Projects receiving funding focus on tackling climate change and restoring nature through schemes such as woodland and habitat creation, peatland restoration, sustainable drainage and river catchment management.

Subject to confirmation, the Environment Agency and Defra are planning to launch a further application round later this year.


natural environment investment readiness fund