A Fife regeneration initiative aiming to improve the local environment and encourage social and economic opportunities along the River Leven catchment has been awarded ‘Climate Beacon’ status by Creative Carbon Scotland to mark the year of COP26.
The Climate Beacon award will provide funding for The Leven Programme to deliver a year-long series of environment-focussed creative and educational activities within the local community, in partnership with OnFife and Levenmouth Academy.
These will include interactive community art projects, song writing sessions with local songwriters, storytelling walks along the River Leven and citizen science activities, all with a focus on the local environment, local history and climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Climate Beacons are collaborative projects between climate change and environmental organisations, along with arts, heritage and cultural bodies, with the aim of stimulating long-term public engagement about climate change and the environment in the lead-up to and following COP26.
Pauline Silverman, Programme Manager for The Leven Programme said: “We are excited that The Leven Programme has been selected as a Climate Beacon given the tough competition from across the county.
“Mid-Fife faces challenges with the emerging impacts of climate change, such as coastal erosion, drought, coastal and fluvial flooding, and biodiversity loss. Poverty reduction strategies currently do not address the impacts that climate change will have on those communities that are already suffering from social and economic hardships.
“Our aim as a Climate Beacon is to bring together local voices in a just transition and ensure those in the community who may be hardest hit by climate change, co-design the change needed and have the support, resilience and tools to adapt.
“The Beacon status will help us to turn the narrative of the area around – from a carbon intensive area to a low carbon community of the future.”
Duncan Zuill, Teacher & EIS Representative, Levenmouth Academy said: “We hope to use our Beacon status to encourage other schools to make their campuses greener and promote rewilding!”
Dan Brown, Creative Development Manager at OnFife: "We're excited to be working with The Leven Programme and Levenmouth Academy to deliver one of Scotland's seven CIimate Beacons. Community and culture will at the heart of the collaboration as we plan a creative and engaging programme for Fife."
The Levenmouth catchment area was historically the engine of mid-Fife, sustaining several hundred mills and factories, and was home to miners and workers in the manufacturing industries. Recent serious environmental challenges have created multiple pressures and environmental impacts including barriers to fish migration, water quality issues and physical modifications to the rivers.
The Leven Programme launched in 2018 with the environment and people at its core. It aims to breathe life back into the river and improve the areas surrounding it, making them great places to live, work and visit. Reconnecting people and place is a key focus of the Programme.
The first phase of The Leven Programme - The Connectivity Project – will see the creation of a network of paths and cycle ways along a 5km stretch of the river from Levenmouth to Cameron Bridge connecting local communities.
Work will be carried out on environmental river improvements, as well as unlocking opportunities to bring some areas of vacant and derelict land along the river back in to productive use.
The Leven Programme is one of only seven in Scotland awarded the Climate Beacon status.