Flooding has always been a concern in Scotland. Communities and businesses that have been flooded know that it has huge consequences – economically and for health and well-being. With climate change we expect sea levels to rise and that we will experience more extreme weather events.

Climate change is expected to increase flood risk, potentially doubling it in some areas in Scotland before the end of the century. Flooding is a substantial risk in Scotland: just over 108,000 residential properties in Scotland are estimated to be exposed to one or more sources of flooding, though of low probability.

How do we make the best long term decisions about flood risk management, and who needs to be involved in these decisions?

Making flood risk management decisions must include:

  • Climate change projections
  • Flood risk modelling
  • Planning expertise
  • Community engagement

The increased risk of flooding is not felt uniformly throughout society, and it is important to understand underlying vulnerability of people and places. Read more about flood disadvantage and vulnerable communities in Mapping Flood Disadvantage in Scotland 2015: Main Report 

Flood risk is affected by planning and development decisions, how we manage the land, watercourses and drainage systems, and our choice of construction materials and approaches. The connections between these practices are complex, and need to be considered at catchment scale.

The approach in the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 is catchment led and based on using natural flood management. Our annual Flood Risk Management conference has been a central arena for the sector learning about the act, and to discuss best practice and next steps.

Read more about the Flood Risk Management Conference

Read more about flood risk management in Scotland on SEPA’s flooding pages