Implementation of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009: report to the Scottish Parliament

Progress of work being carried out through the implementaion of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

3. An Integrated Approach To Flood Risk Management

3.1 Background

Flood risk management is the process of assessing, organising and implementing actions to deal with flood risk. The main outcome of the flood risk management planning process should be a set of sustainable actions being taken to reduce overall flood risk across Scotland.

Multiple organisations are involved in managing flood risk. It is therefore essential that an integrated approach, that balances national consistency and strategic decisions with local knowledge and accountability, is adopted.

3.2 National Flood Risk Assessment

First published in December 2011, the National Flood Risk Assessment (NFRA) has provided Scotland with the knowledge and tools to assess the causes and consequences of river, coastal and surface water flooding, taking into account the effects of climate change. It considers the potential impact of flooding on human health, economic activity, the environment and cultural heritage and is based on the most up to date data available.

A key requirement of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 is that SEPA must review and update the NFRA by December 2018 and then every 6 years.

Since reaching the end of the first Flood Risk Management planning cycle, SEPA have worked closely with key stakeholders to review and update the NFRA as part of preparations for the second planning cycle.

We now understand that there are around 284,000 homes, businesses and services across Scotland at risk of flooding from rivers, surface water and the sea. That is more than twice as many that were identified in the 2011 NFRA and 2015 Flood Risk Management Strategies. The reason for this increase is that there have been major advances in how properties at risk have been identified, not because the physical risk has changed.

Scientific knowledge and understanding of flood risk is constantly evolving. Better data and access to improved mapping and modelling has advanced our understanding of the location of properties at risk. This means that we have been able to identify more properties at risk which were previously unknown to us.

3.3 Flood Risk Management Planning

For the purposes of Flood Risk Management Planning, Scotland is divided up into 14 Local Plan Districts (LPD), with a lead local authority assigned to each. For each LPD a flood risk management strategy and a local flood risk management plan have been published.

Flood Risk Management Strategies, prepared by SEPA, in collaboration with relevant responsible authorities set out a long-term vision for the overall reduction of flood risk. They contain a summary of flood risk in each Local Plan District together with information on catchment characteristics and a summary of objectives and measures for Potentially Vulnerable Areas.

Local Flood Risk Management Plans are developed by lead local authorities and take these objectives and set out what actions will be taken and how they will be funded.

Scotland's first Flood Risk Management Planning Cycle successfully concluded in December 2017.

3.3.1 Public Consultation

SEPA and the lead local authorities jointly consulted on the draft Flood Risk Management Strategies and draft Local Flood Risk Management Plans over a 6 month period from December 2014.

222 responses to the consultation were received. The majority of responses (71%) were from individuals. The remaining responses came from:

  • Interest and community groups (including non-government organisations and charitable organisations) (15%),
  • Responsible Authorities designated under the FRM Act 2009 (7%),
  • Businesses (4%),
  • Other public bodies (3%), and
  • Consultancy (<0.5%).

Views expressed in the consultation were taken into account when preparing the final Flood Risk Management Strategies ("FRM Strategies") and Local Flood Risk Management Plans.

3.3.2 Publication of FRM Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans

14 Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Plans were published in December 2015 and June 2016 respectively. These take our knowledge and understanding of flooding and turn it into a set of actions that are planned, prioritised and co-ordinated to tackle flooding in the areas where it affects us the most. Having an agreed understanding of flood risk and a set of national actions has been powerful for all flood risk management delivery partners and stakeholders.

The second planning cycle is currently underway and will build on the lessons learned from the first cycle.

3.4 Progress on Actions in Cycle One

Local authorities continue to progress the actions identified in the first cycle of flood risk management strategies and local flood risk management plans. These actions range from helping to raise awareness, encouraging property owners to take action to help themselves, to flood warning schemes and flood protection works.

Since 2015 a number of flood protection schemes have been completed. These include schemes at Selkirk, Elgin, Brechin and Almondbank. A number of the 42 schemes on the prioritised list of schemes set out in the Flood Risk Management Strategies have also been completed including those at Huntly, Newmills, the Dundee Waterfront, the Water of Leith and Kirkwall. A number of others are making good progress and have been confirmed by the relevant Councils with construction work either due to be completed or started during 2019.

The 14 Lead local authorities will publish interim reports setting out progress by June 2019 as required by the Act.


Email: Gordon Robertson

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