Managing flood risk
Reducing flood risk is a key commitment in the programme for government and it will become even more crucial as climate change is expected to increase the frequency and severity of flooding across Scotland.
Through the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 we introduced a more sustainable and modern approach to flood risk management that is better suited to current needs and can accommodate the impacts of climate change.
Reducing flood risk
We are reducing flood risk in Scotland by:
- supporting the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), local authorities, Scottish Water and the public to fulfil their flood risk management responsibilities
- working with partners to deliver the 2009 Act and the flood risk management strategies
- supporting work to build flood resilience and raise awareness
- producing flood risk management guidance
- providing a policy framework for surface water management and blue-green infrastructure
- commissioning and publishing research projects to help us deliver more sustainable flood risk management – view research projects in our archive
- supporting work to pilot and develop natural flood management approaches, such as the Eddleston Water project and the EU Interreg Building with Nature project
- investing in scientific research programmes such as Dynamic Coast to help us to effectively manage Scotland's coastline
We provide the following targeted funding each year:
- £42 million from the General Capital Grant to enable local authorities to invest in flood protection measures
- £140,000 to support the Scottish Flood Forum to build flood resilience within communities
Flood risk management strategies
Under the 2009 Act we worked with partners led by SEPA to prepare 14 flood risk management strategies that together form the first national plan for flood risk management in Scotland. We are responsible for approving the objectives and actions set out in these strategies.
Across the 14 strategies there are 42 formal flood protection schemes proposed for between 2016 and 2021, which will protect an estimated 10,000 properties from flooding.
The strategies are supplemented by the local flood risk management plans, which are developed primarily by local authorities and set out the detailed actions to be delivered in each plan district by individual councils and their partners.
Flood risk management responsibilities
The 2009 Act allocates clear roles and responsibilities for managing flood risk in Scotland, in which we work in partnership with SEPA, local authorities, Scottish Water and other responsible authorities including Forestry Commission Scotland, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority, and Cairngorms Natoinal Park Authority.
SEPA works with local authorities, Scottish Water and other public bodies, alongside stakeholders and the public, to co-ordinate flood risk management and deliver information. SEPA also provides flood forecasting and warning services, and will produce the second National Flood Risk Assessment in 2018.
Local authorities ensure local accountability by leading on the preparation of local flood risk management plans, which supplement the national strategies prepared by SEPA and ensure actions are locally targeted and delivered. They also have the ability to make and build flood protection schemes.
Scottish Water assesses the risk of flooding from surface water and combined sewers that results from higher than usual rainfall. Once risks are identified, Scottish Water works with local authorities and SEPA to look for ways to reduce those risks through its capital investment programme.
The public are given opportunities to participate in the production and implementation of flood risk management plans, and have a role in sharing local knowledge and getting involved with flood protection actions for their areas.
Building flood resilience and awareness
We are all responsible for protecting ourselves and our property from flooding. This means taking action to ensure we do all we can to help minimise flood damage.
The Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group (PFRDG) produced the Living with Flooding action plan for delivering property flood resilience (November 2019). The Plan was developed to help raise awareness of the benefits of property flood resilience and encourage property owners, the construction and insurance industries and the general public to implement property flood resilience measures.
We are raising awareness about the following help available for households and businesses at risk of flooding:
- the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, run in partnership by SEPA and the Met Office, provides a five-day outlook for potential flood risk
- Floodline, operated by SEPA, provides flood warnings that give householders time to take action
- the Scottish Flood Forum, which we help fund, offers advice and information to individuals to help them protect their homes from flooding or to recover from flooding
- Flood Re makes affordable flood insurance available to floodprone households and businesses
- Ready Scotland provides advice on steps that households and businesses can take to help prepare for flooding
Flood risk management guidance
We have produced the following guidance regarding measures introduced by the Act:
Delivering sustainable flood risk management: guidance – sets out statutory guidance to SEPA, local authorities and Scottish Water on fulfilling their responsibilities under the Act and in particular the steps that should be taken to manage flooding sustainably
Flood protection appraisals: guidance for SEPA and responsible authorities – advises SEPA and the responsible authorities on the economic, social and environmental aspects of option appraisal for actions promoted under the 2009 Act
Flood risk management - local authority functions: guidance – focuses on local authorities' powers under Part 4 of the 2009 Act, particularly section 56 and the statutory procedures for flood protection schemes
Surface water management planning: guidance and surface water management planning: quick start guide – assist responsible authorities in the preparation of Surface Water Management Plans (SWMPs) to help with the management of surface water flooding as required under the Act
Clearance and repair to reduce flood risk: local authority guidance – sets out the duties of each local authority to assess bodies of water for flood risk and to carry out clearance and repair works to reduce any such risk
We've produced a list of flood risk-related research reports for information.
Phone: 0131 244 4763
Flood Risk Management Team
Area 3H South