Funding for flood forecasting
Funding of £750,000 to improve flood forecasting services in Scotland has been announced.
The flood warning system will provide the emergency services with better and earlier indications of flooding risk and help protect lives, homes and livelihoods.
The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, which should be up and running by March 2011, will link experts from the Met Office's operations centre in Aberdeen and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency's flood forecasting team in Perth.
Daily statements will be produced for local authorities and emergency services detailing developing risks, creating early warning of potential flooding and more time to prepare fully for flooding events.
Minister for the Environment Roseanna Cunningham said:
"While we cannot completely eliminate the threat of flooding we can do our very best to prepare and minimise the impact of floods on our communities.
"The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service will be a vital tool in our battle against flooding, as it will help provide the relevant authorities with better, earlier information.
"The improved flood forecasting information will help SEPA provide better warnings, giving communities and organisations more time to prepare for flooding and take action to protect their properties and livelihoods.
"I've seen first-hand the devastating impact that flooding can have on homes and businesses and know the importance of taking a more sustainable approach to its management. The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service is an excellent example of the work we are doing to help strengthen community resilience."
James Curran, Director of Science and Strategy at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said:
"SEPA welcomes the funding of this joint service, which will allow us to improve flood forecasting in Scotland using integrated Met Office and SEPA hydrological and meteorological expertise.
"The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service will enable us to deliver better and timely information on the possibility and severity of flooding situations to key responders, like the emergency services and local authorities.
"It will also help us, through Floodline, to provide those living, working or travelling in flood risk areas with as much advance warning as possible of predicted flooding, so they can take action. It's a partnership with a real purpose, to help people."
Phil Evans, Director of Government Services at the Met Office said:
"This partnership between SEPA and the Met Office, supported by the Scottish Government, will enhance flood resilience in Scotland.
"The Met Office is eager to build on our existing partnership with SEPA through our weather forecasting team in Aberdeen.
"The Scottish Government's investment in the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, will allow SEPA's expertise in flood warnings and advice to be brought together with the Met Office's experience in weather and other environmental hazards to ensure Scotland has the best advice possible."
Ministers agreed to support the establishment of the SFFS by providing funding of more than £500,000 to cover the set-up costs and the running cost of the service in 2010/11. The remaining £250,000 required for this financial year will be funded by SEPA.
The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service is a partnership operating between the Met Office's Weather Centre in Aberdeen and SEPA's Flood Forecasting Team based in Perth. In times of significant flooding events a member of staff will relocate to the other organisation's office and operate systems there.
The Scottish Flood Forecasting Service will be a crucial part of Scotland's sustainable approach to flood risk management as set out in the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009. The Act came into force last year, but its implementation is a long term programme of work. It represents a major change in how flood risk is managed in Scotland, with a move towards more sustainable approaches to flood management.