8. Recommendations for future assessments of flood disadvantage
Assessment of social vulnerability to flooding and other climate-related extreme events is a relatively new area of research and practice which will likely develop in the decades to come. Based on the experiences gained in this project, and in the previous assessments of vulnerability for other locations (e.g. ClimateJust for England), the following recommendations can be made:
- Spatial units: the end users should decide on the most appropriate spatial units to be applied in the assessment to best serve their needs.
- Indicators of social vulnerability to flooding:
• New indicators could be relatively easily developed to identify more precisely the areas where people are affected by multiple social, personal and environmental issues that increase their vulnerability to flooding. For example, identifying the number of older people suffering from health problems, or private tenants who are income deprived, would offer more useful information than identifying the people who are older, in poor health, tenants, or income deprived independently from each other.
• In collaboration with SEPA, the data on the uptake of flood warnings in flood risk areas could be incorporated in future assessments to better reflect 'local knowledge'.
• Up to date information on the proportion of households with the lowest floor at the ground/basement level could be collected from the Scottish Property Dataset. Whilst this may help to represent the enhanced exposure for some properties more accurately, there is still a level of uncertainty associated with this dataset.
• Indicators relating to insurance cost and availability should be amended once the Flood Re agreement is in place.
• In collaboration with each local authority, e.g. through the use of local data holdings, local knowledge and community participation, the data limitations of this assessment should be addressed. For example, information on the vulnerable individuals living outside the areas identified as vulnerable should be incorporated into the assessment. Also, information on other vulnerable groups not captured here due to data paucity (e.g. the homeless) should be included.
- Flood hazard-exposure indicators:
• Amend the flood risk data used in the assessment of disadvantage as the datasets are updated by SEPA.
• Use 1 in 10 years flood extents to identify the socially vulnerable areas with the highest probability of flooding as those where preventative actions should be prioritised.
• In addition to the Scottish Flood Defence Asset Database, local authorities should develop a database on PLP in their area and incorporate this information in future assessments.
- Building the indices: stakeholders' knowledge could be used to develop weightings of indices that reflect local priorities. Ideally, a model presenting the data that would allow stakeholders to visualise the effects of amended weightings of indicators in real time could be developed.
- The flood disadvantage index could be usefully accompanied by a 'response' layer presenting aspects such as: investment in flood management; spatial distribution and capacity of the emergency services; presence of rest centres; and, other supporting social infrastructure.
Email: Carol Brown