Living with flooding: action plan

Living with flooding recommends actions for a range of stakeholders to take to help promote property flood resilience in Scotland.


Flooding cannot be prevented.

In Scotland an estimated 284,000 homes and premises are at risk of flooding; with an additional 110,000 properties at risk by the 2080s1. Scotland needs to accept and address this risk. Whilst there has been action to help alleviate the effects of flooding through measures such as alerts, flood schemes and sustainable urban drainage schemes (SuDs), in Scotland the responsibility for protecting property from flooding rests with the owner. It is important therefore that householders and commercial occupiers know how to protect their property to limit physical damage to buildings and lessen the longer-term emotional impacts of being flooded. Communities, property owners and occupiers need to be aware of their flood risk and what action they can take to manage that risk.

Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures are designed to make property more resilient to the physical impacts and people to the emotional impacts of flooding. They either help prevent water entering a building, for example, by installing a flood guard across a doorway or they limit the damage to the property if the water enters, for example, by water-proofing the brickwork or replacing carpets with flooring that can be retained after the flood event. These measures make the clean up as easy as possible and allow people to return to their homes and re-open businesses as quickly as possible.

The Property Flood Resilience Delivery Group (PFRDG) brings together a range of stakeholders to work together to ensure that Scotland is better prepared for flood events. The PFRDG developed this Action Plan to help raise awareness of the benefits of PFR and encourage property owners, the construction and insurance industries and the general public to implement PFR measures. This Action Plan is a requirement of the Programme for Government in Scotland 2018-192. The plan has three main objectives:

  • Building a better evidence base – through research and case studies determine the uptake of, the successes, the obstacles to uptake and cost benefits of PFR;
  • Influencing policy and providing clear guidance – provide clear, consistent information and guidance on PFR used by industry and property owners or occupiers and
  • Recognising and supporting positive change – encourage more PFR measures during renovations or re-instatement by promoting the economic and social benefits of flood resilience.

The Action Plan will be reviewed in June 2021. All published research and reports will be freely available on the Scottish Flood Forum website.

Flood Risk Management in Scotland

In Scotland it is the owner’s responsibility to protect a property from flooding. Scottish Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), local authorities, Scottish Water and other bodies work together under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 to manage flood risk at a national and local level. Together they have prepared Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans (LFRMP), which are available on the SEPA website, for 14 Local Plan Districts.

While thousands of properties at risk of flooding will benefit from formal flood schemes included in the LFRMPs, thousands more will not and even those covered by a scheme will still have a remaining risk from overtopping or other sources of flooding. These properties could benefit from PFR measures which can reduce the impacts of flooding.



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