National flood scheme launched at Selkirk

Selkirk flood defence scheme will be tested with the approach of storm Frank
Selkirk flood defence scheme will be tested with the approach of storm Frank

Environment Minister Aileen McLeod has announced a national five year flood plan after a visit to Selkirk.

The Flood Risk Management plan contains 14 local strategies and proposals for 42 flood protection schemes or engineering works planned for 2016-2021 and a range of other flood alleviation measures. This will be supported by investment over the first cycle of £235 million on measures to protect up to 10,000 properties.

Following recent flooding as a result of Storm Frank, the Minister said the plans show the Scottish Government is committed to helping communities recover and protecting communities against future risks.

Dr McLeod said: “Having met with many people who have seen their homes and livelihoods damaged due to flooding over recent weeks, I am all too aware of the devastation that flooding can cause.

“This shows exactly why Scotland’s first national flood plan is an important and necessary step forward. Our plan is designed to improve the way we tackle the risk of flooding across the country – protecting more homes, businesses, communities and livelihoods.

“For the first time, we have a nationwide plan, informed by local communities to tackle flooding. This will be at the heart of our efforts to prevent flooding and there is no doubt it will make a lasting contribution to flood risk management in Scotland.

“This plan has been achieved through partnership working and a shared commitment to prevent flooding and I would like to thank all those involved for their efforts in bringing these strategies together.”

Council Leader, Councillor David Parker, added: “It is fitting that Selkirk has been chosen for the launch of Scotland’s Flood Risk Management Strategies.

“Selkirk has the first major flood protection scheme to be approved under the new Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act, and the project has already proved its worth in protecting the town during storms Desmond and Frank, despite being only half completed.

“We have seen the devastating impact of flooding across Scotland in recent weeks and the publication of the Flood Risk Management Strategies will be a vital tool in helping the country make decisions on how to best protect vulnerable areas.”

SEPA Chief Executive Terry A’Hearn, meanwhile, commented: “Flooding has caused devastation and misery for many people across Scotland in recent weeks. In fact, December 2015 was the wettest on record with 50 of our gauging stations recording their highest ever levels.

“The Flood Risk Management Strategies have been developed to help reduce the damage which flooding can cause, and are more important than ever given the recent flooding. We have been working closely with local authorities to identify the most suitable actions to manage flood risk, and this is targeted towards areas where it will be most effective based on improved knowledge of the sources and impacts of flooding.

“The strategies coordinate the efforts of organisations that tackle flooding and concentrate this work to where the risk of flooding and the benefits of investment are greatest. Through this risk-based and plan-led approach the strategies aim to improve flood management for individuals, communities and businesses at risk in Scotland.”

Local Flood Risk Management Plans are being developed in parallel with the national, and will provide additional local detail on the funding and delivery timetable for actions between 2016-2021.

The publication date for Local Flood Risk Management Plans is June 2016.

As announced in the Scottish Draft Budget Statement, on a like for like basis with 2015-16 Capital Settlement there has been a small cash increase in the 2016-17 Capital Settlement to Local Authorities, and that will be reflected in the amount of funding made available to local authorities for flood protection work over the next few years.