Falkirk area highlighted as most ‘at risk’ of flooding

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If people thought the chaos spread by the tail end of Storm Desmond was bad – admittedly the closure of the Forth Road Bridge did not help – they will not be too happy to read a new Scottish Government report which predicts more of the same in coming months and years.

According to the new publication, Mapping Flood Disadvantage in Scotland 2015, climate change is likely to aggravate the frequency and severity of flooding in Scotland – with the Falkirk area potentially subject to the highest risk of flooding and classed as being at “acute risk”.

Scottish environment minister Aileen McLeod welcomed the findings of the report, which recommends local authorities like Falkirk Council work closely with third sector organisations to help provide support for communities in the case of flooding.

Dr McLeod confirmed the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2016/17 maintains provision for funding flood protection schemes.

She said: “Climate change is happening now. Extreme weather is having an impact in Scotland and across Europe and the world – as some communities have already experienced to devastating effect this winter.

“This report highlights the changing climate is increasing the risk of flooding for a number of Scottish communities, including Falkirk. Identifying and understanding why some neighbourhoods are more flood disadvantaged than others is essential to help us plan and target the right support to communities at flood risk.

“These findings will be used by a variety of organisations, from local authorities to community resilience groups, to raise awareness of flood risks and decide how to act.”

The Scottish Government commissioned this research back in January to update work carried out in 2013 and follow on from the first National Flood Risk Assessment (NFRA) carried out by SEPA in 2011.

The risk assessment suggested that one in 22 of all residential properties, four per cent or 108,000 homes, in Scotland were at risk of flooding from various sources, including coastal, river and surface water.

The new report states: “Climate change is likely to exacerbate the frequency and severity of flooding in Scotland. The impacts from flooding under the changing climate could disproportionately affect some sectors of society, because the ability of individuals and communities to cope with flooding differs.

“Tailored policy responses are urgently needed that consider the vulnerable groups who are the most likely to be affected by the impacts of climate change, including flooding.

“Raising awareness of flooding and actions to be taken among landlords and tenants is also needed as the private rented sector continues to grow.”

Falkirk Council already has significant measures in place to deal with flooding, but the new research will provide a useful framework for planning actions in anticipation of the increased risk of floodings.

According to researchers, the data included could also be used in future flood risk management to help shape the delivery of flood warnings and flood prevention schemes.

Flood prevention in Grangemouth is a top priority for Falkirk Council

Falkirk Council looked at an updated flood risk management report earlier this month and members heard about a variety of studies carried out in local area.

In Grangemouth ground investigation works along the tidal reaches of the River Carron, to the west of the M9 motorway, and River Avon have been completed.

The reported states: “This information will confirm the structural integrity of existing flood defences and also provide information for the design of future flood defences.

“It is understood the Grangemouth Flood Prevention Scheme (GFPS) has been rated as the top priority at a national and local level. The development of a phased scheme of flood alleviation measures for Grangemouth will be a complex process, addressing environmental constraints, land ownership and planning conditions, in addition to design complexities.

“It is intended to develop a flood alleviation scheme for Grangemouth, constructed in phases to be submitted to the Scottish Government seeking approved scheme status by early 2018.”

Falkirk Council is also obligated to come up with surface water management plans and is also working on further flood risk management studies for Airth, Denny, Dunipace, Westquarter and Slamannan.

As well as the studies, work on flood prevention has taken place throughout the area this year, including construction of a surface water attenuation tank near Chapel Burn at Graham Avenue, Larbert.

In Grangemouth measures to control invasive species and clear vegetation in Grange Burn have been implemented and work to replace the portable pump at Glensburgh Road with a permanent automated pump is complete.

Ongoing maintenance and inspection of screens and watercourses cross the Falkirk Council area is also a key contributor in the reduction of flood risk.