The world’s climate is changing, rainfall is increasing, the sea levels are rising and the knock-on effects can have a devastating impact on our lives.
Flooding has posed a clear and present danger to humans for as long as we have walked the earth – concentrated bursts of heavy rainfall can create havoc anywhere during any month of the year – but in recent times these ‘natural disasters’ seem to be increasing in both scale and frequency.
The UK has been repeatedly hit by heavy floods over the past decade, causing millions of pounds of damage and misery to thousands of people who have seen their homes and possessions swept away or submerged under tons of ice cold water.
While most scientists the world over are reluctant to state with any certainty the increase in flooding incidents is directly related to climate change, some stick their necks out and claim it is the main cause of these extreme weather events we have been experiencing since the turn of the century and believe things are only going to get worse from here on in.
This is worrying information we really have no control over, but thankfully we can be prepared and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s Floodline service, which now includes Grangemouth, is on hand to provide peace of mind to residents who find themselves casting a concerned glance at the skies whenever dark clouds appear. Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald welcomed the inclusion of Grangemouth in the scheme.
He said: “In recent weeks we have seen just how damaging coastal flooding can be to our local communities. It is important we do everything in our power to protect, help and prepare people who are living or working in areas at risk from flooding.
“Advance warnings make a huge difference and I’m delighted we now have the first ever coastal flood warning service for Grangemouth. This scheme is crucial to make sure local communities are informed and ready well in advance of any potential flooding.
“Thanks to SEPA’s National Flood Risk Assessment, we now have a national picture of all forms of flood risk, including coastal. This helps to identify areas most vulnerable to flooding to ensure they get the support and investment required to reduce the devastating impacts caused by flooding.”
Thousands of residents living, or working, in 28 coastal areas in the east of Scotland will be able to access information and receive advance coastal flood warnings direct to their phone 24 hours a day.
This will give people valuable time to take action to protect their families, homes and businesses from the damage flooding can cause. It also allows people travelling through affected areas to make alternative travel arrangements if their usual travel routes have been disrupted.
The new campaign, which is backed by popular weatherman Sean Batty, encourages those living in at-risk areas in Grangemouth to sign up to receive their free advance warnings from Floodline.
Councillor Craig R. Martin, Falkirk Council’s environment and community safety convener, said: “By signing up to the flood warning service, you can be better prepared should we experience any extreme weather.
“We would always advise everyone to take a look at what they can do to minimise any problems they can have should flooding hit and would urge them to take a close look at the SEPA website as soon as they can.”
The risk of coastal flooding is influenced by the frequency and intensity of storms, and by the local sea level. Since climate change is reportedly causing the sea level to rise this will increase the risk of coastal flooding in many areas.
Warmer air can hold more water so climate change will also create the potential for stronger rainfall and this also increases the risk of flooding.
Dr David Pirie, SEPA’s director of Science and Strategy, said: “As we saw before Christmas, flooding can cause significant disruption and damage so it’s vital we are aware and prepared for it.
“We are delighted to include Grangemouth in our Scottish east coast warning service, which represents a major investment in building community resilience to coastal flooding.”