Young people in Grangemouth and Falkirk urged to take part in flood consultation as SEPA focusses on the future

Image: by Gary Hutchison. GRANGEMOUTH, Grange Burn
Image: by Gary Hutchison. GRANGEMOUTH, Grange Burn

It may be difficult to picture at the moment with the hot dry summer we’re enjoying, but flooding is a clear and present danger we all need to be aware of.

And that includes young people, as the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is keen to point out before its national consultation on flood risk comes to an end on July 31.

SEPA is currently seeking feedback on the designation of areas which are potentially vulnerable to flooding – with 81 per cent of respondents so far agreeing flooding is one of the major climate change challenges Scotland will face in the future.

READ MORE: How to know if you live in a flood risk area

Going forward it is essential local knowledge on the issue is gathered and now the 2050 Climate Group has joined SEPA in calling on young people to take part in this vital national consultation to improve Scotland’s future flood risk management plans.

The 2050 Climate Group aims to engage, educate and empower Scotland’s future leaders to take action on climate change now.

The group’s Amy Ritchie said: “Climate change will lead to more frequent and intense flooding in Scotland so it’s really important young people, as the generation that will be affected by these impacts in the future, take the time to review and respond to SEPA’s consultation.

“Research shows 18 to 34-year-olds in particular are not engaged in the issue of flooding. As a result, we are urging as many young people as possible to share their thoughts on SEPA’s increasingly vital work.”

READ MORE: Falkirk area highlighted as most ‘at risk’ of flooding

Climate change is expected to increase flood risk, potentially doubling it in some areas in Scotland before the end of the century.

People – of all ages – still have until the end of the month to help shape SEPA’s understanding of Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) by sharing knowledge of their own areas to help make Scotland more resilient in the face of increased flood events.

Identifying PVAs is a vital part of protecting people, properties, communities, businesses, infrastructure and environment. They are based on Scotland’s National Flood Risk Assessment (NFRA) which is updated and published every six years.

This provides a clear picture of past, current and future flood risk and feeds into SEPA’s Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans.

READ MORE: Over 5000 properties at risk of flooding in Central region

Designation of an area as a PVA allows local authorities and public bodies to work with communities to focus activities on reducing the impacts of flooding.

Better data has provided a greater understanding of the location of properties and access to better mapping and modelling has improved the assessment of flood risk.

The importance of being ready for flooding was highlighted by the floods which struck Grangemouth – specifically properties in Glensburgh Road – in January when Falkirk Council were on hand with sandbags as water seeped ever closer to people’s homes.

A faulty pumping station did not help matters on that occasion, but it did show preparation is key when it comes to flooding. The station, which is supposed to activate automatically through a level switch, had to be turned on manually to pump away the floodwater and had to be supplemented by a mobile pumping unit.

The SEPA flood risk consultation has received over 170 responses so far from Grangemouth residents and people all over the country, with the vast majority of them recognising the challenge flooding will pose in the future.

SEPA plans to publish the results of the consultation in December 2018.

Terry A’Hearn, SEPA Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased we have received so many responses to this consultation so far, which demonstrates the widespread knowledge and interest in this important issue.

“It may seem peculiar to ask people to think about flooding given the recent dry summer weather, but please ensure you do because your views really do count and we want as many people as possible to share their views with us.

“The deadline is now fast approaching so I would strongly encourage you to take action now.”

Visit SEPA’s website to view and take part in the consultation.