Despite what some may believe there is plenty of proof to suggest global warming is becoming a real problem for planet Earth.
Along with global warming comes rising tides, which, when coupled with high rainfall, can lead to increased risk of flooding.
So it is good news for residents and businesses that Falkirk Council is not just watching weather forecasts and saying a silent prayer every time it buckets down.
The Falkirk Herald met two of the members of the council’s development services responsible for turning the massive multi-million pound Grangemouth Flood Protection Scheme into a reality – Alistair Dawson, roads, bridges and flooding co-ordinator, and Sharon Agnew, senior flooding officer.
The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 called for a more sustainable approach to flood risk management to deliver a scheme which takes into account the future impact of climate change.
Sharon said: “The figures we are working to include climate change and have been incorporated into the defences we are building. There’s more certainty now the tidal levels are rising, so what we are doing is building the resilience of the communities.
“There are flood planes within the Forth Estuary which are available, so you will still see water coming from the rivers, but the defences are designed to stop it reaching any properties.”
The Grangemouth Flood Protection Scheme – which the Scottish Government has made a number one priority and will be meeting 80 per cent of the costs – will protect communities in Grangemouth, Wholeflats, Glensburgh, Langlees, Carron, Carronshore and Camelon – an estimated 3000 properties – from flooding arising from the River Carron, River Avon, Grange Burn and the Forth Estuary.
Alistair said: “It’s important the message comes across this isn’t just about protecting industry it’s about protecting communities.”
Every section of the 15 mile long flood protection scheme will present its own unique challenges.
While flood defences – be they 1.5 metre high walls or embankments – can be as plain, and stark, as they come when they are situated in out of the way locations, when it comes to public places like Grangemouth’s Zetland Park, the look of the defences will have to be more in-keeping with their surroundings and not become an eyesore that will detract from the visual pleasure on display.
And one particular area of flood risk runs near the Antonine Wall, so Historic Environment Scotland will have to be consulted.
In fact the consultation required for this scheme will range from world renowned petrochemical giant Ineos right down to residents whose back gardens are near flooding zones.
Alistair said protecting Stirling Road on the outskirts of Larbert, where the First Bus garage is located, is also a must. If that floods then you have the knock on effect of transportation disruption.
He added another positive aspect of the scheme is it should see a decrease in the cost of insurance cover for people who live in particularly high risk flooding areas.
“This is a long process to go through – it will take time before we are on the ground doing this work. There are still opportunities for people to get involved and comment on the proposals from the start of next year when we go out to formal consultation.
“This is by far the biggest flood defence scheme in Scotland. We are talking about 15 miles of flood defences with work expected to begin in 2024 and construction forecast to take from five to ten years to complete.”
Visit www.grangemouthfloodscheme.com for more information.