About The Leven Programme


The River Leven is a river in Fife which starts at Loch Leven and flows through a number of communities before entering the Firth of Forth at Levenmouth 26km downstream.

By the 18th century the river was the powerhouse of Fife and every kind of industry depended on the river, including flint mills, flax/linen mills, waulk mills, paper mills, bleach works, iron works and extensive power weaving mills. The river sustained several hundred mills and factories, was home to a proud population of miners and workers in the manufacturing industries, and was once had a productive port.

Sadly, many of these industries are no longer present in the area, leaving behind pockets of vacant and derelict land, and communities with high unemployment rates, poor health and well-being and other pressures associated with areas in the top percentiles of those most deprived in Scotland.

Instead of being something that once brought communities together and provided their livelihood, the river has now become a barrier, disconnecting people and towns from each other. Serious environmental challenges have also arisen along the river catchment, with multiple pressures and environmental impacts stemming from the historical use of the river, including barriers to fish migration, water quality issues and physical river modifications.

The Leven Programme

The Leven Programme (known as The Leven) was established in 2018 to bring together those public bodies, businesses and community representatives who want to make a positive difference to the river and the surrounding area. By improving the physical and ecological conditions of the river; creating better access to the river and between communities; as well as creating opportunities to improve people’s health, well-being and economic prospects, all partners realise that more can be achieved working together than can be achieved working in isolation.

The programme aims to be a potentially world-leading example of how organisations can collaborate to develop improvements that take environmental, social and economic factors into consideration at the beginning of any significant community regeneration development or initiative.

What we aim to deliver

To create such significant change over such a large geographical area will take time, money and collective input from all those who have a vested interest in improving the River Leven and its surrounding communities.

We anticipate that this Programme will take 10 years to deliver, so that by 2030, our partnership approach will have contributed to, and delivered a number of individual projects that will collectively have helped to breathe life back into the River Leven, making the communities surrounding it great places to live, work and visit.

Below are a list of the projects are currently being developed or in the planning/scoping phase. You can find further information as well as updates regarding each project as they progress in our Projects section.

Connectivity Project

This flagship project aims to create a series of paths to connect isolated communities to and along the river as well as unlocking opportunities on the vacant and derelict land. So far we have carried out a feasibility and scoping survey, and community engagement is due to take place late 2019.

Find out more on our Connectivity Project page.

Regional masterplan

We will develop a regional masterplan which can deliver a cohesive planning regime with all partners to deliver green infrastructure improvements.

Find out more on our Masterplan page.

Economic productivity

We aim to bring at least two vacant and derelict land sites within the catchment into productive use by 2022.

Low carbon investment

We will work with partners to realise low carbon investment opportunities across the catchment.

Water innovation

Consider surface water management and innovative ways to manage water across the catchment.