Restoring the River Leven project

Why restore the River Leven?

The River Leven has seen many man-made changes that have been made over time many due to its rich industrial heritage which have an impact on the local environment. These include artificial straightening of the river, with gabions (wire baskets filled with stones) and walls as well as barriers to fish migration within the river such as the Kirkland and Burn Mill Dams.

Restoring water courses to a more natural condition can bring many benefits, helping to:

  • provide a space for local people to enjoy;
  • improve local resilience to climate change;
  • support biodiversity including fish, mammals, birds and amphibians;
  • allow fish passage by removing barriers;
  • reduce flood risk, for instance through natural flood management;
  • gain space for nature in a more urban environment.

What is the aim of the project?

This project aims to improve a 2 ½ mile stretch of the River Leven flowing from Windygates to Leven. Our vision is to restore the river for the benefit of local people and wildlife. This includes making it easier for fish to move upstream of the Burn Mill and Kirkland Dams to breed and thrive.

We are also looking to develop the area with local communities, improving local biodiversity, path networks and green spaces as part of the wider Leven Programme.

Who is undertaking this project?

In conjunction with other initiatives in the Leven Programme, this project has been commissioned by Fife Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), supported initially with funding from the Water Environment Fund (WEF).

Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) are managing the project on behalf of Fife Council and are working with cbec eco-engineering to develop restoration options that can be shared the local community for their feedback and then taken forward together as the project progresses.

What is happening at the moment?

We have carried out technical surveys, research and a review of information gathered about the current state of the river and the Kirkland and Burn Mill dams.

This information has been pulled together into options for potential improvement work that has been shared with local landowners and technical stakeholders.

We have recently shared these proposals for improvement with the local community so that their thoughts and views can also feed into how the project is developed.

Having gathered this feedback, we are now progressing into the next phase of the project where we will look to review and incorporate information shared as the designs are developed further.

We will keep this page updated and share how the project is developing at key stages. We hope to start the improvement works in 2023, subject to funding which is currently being sought.

How will we work with the local community?

While the key aim of this project is about restoring the river. we are really keen to connect with the local community and for them to have a say in how the project is developed through an engagement and consultation process.

As the project develops, we hope to work with local community groups and schools through activities such as tree planting, fish in the classroom, guided walks and family events.

If you are a local community group or organisation and would like to work with us, please get in touch.

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Frequently Asked Questions

To view frequently asked questions about the Restoring the River Leven Project, please click here.