Section 3 Annual progress update
The Scottish Government - building the statutory and policy framework
The FRM Act has provided a statutory platform for improving flood risk management across Scotland. The Scottish Government is focusing on developing the policy framework and statutory instruments needed to bring the duties and responsibilities under the FRM Act into sharper focus, thereby providing greater certainty of coordinated and successful actions to reduce the impact of flooding to Scotland's communities, businesses and environment.
The 1st commencement order for the FRM Act came into effect on 26 November 2009. This order brought into force all provisions of the Act except Section 42 (amendment to planning regulations) and Parts 4 (local authority powers to manage flood risk), 6 (powers of entry and compensation) insofar as it relates to Part 4, and 7 (reservoirs). The commencement order included a number of transitional arrangements covering the transfer of SEPA's flood warning duties from the Agriculture Act (1970).
The intention is to lay a second commencement order in 2010 to bring into force Part 4 and the remaining sections of Part 6. In commencing Part 4, regulations setting out the transitional arrangements for transfer from the current statutory process for Flood Protection Schemes under the 1961 Act to the new process set out in the FRM Act will also be laid.
In response to the long standing concerns surrounding the existing statutory process for Flood Protection Schemes, we are keen to allow local authorities to utilise the benefits of the new system as early as possible and without the need to go through a lengthy and complex period of transition.
The Government's intention is therefore to identify a single appointed date in the second half of 2010 by which the new process will come into effect and upon which all future schemes should proceed via the new statutory process. Schemes that have already commenced the statutory process ( i.e. advertised the scheme) under the 1961 Act before this date would continue to follow the 1961 Act process rather than switching part way through the process.
Building the policy framework - Ministerial Guidance
The FRM Act places statutory duties on Scottish Ministers to issue guidance on a number of important topics, including:
- managing flooding sustainably;
- how to consider the social, environmental and economic impacts of floods; and
- setting objectives and measures, including how to ensure more natural approaches to managing flooding are considered.
Collectively, this guidance will help ensure that all parties involved in flood management are working within a coherent policy framework that will ensure that Scotland benefits from the most sustainable approaches to managing flooding.
Work is already underway to prepare these guidance documents, and the SAIFF groups, and bodies represented therein, are playing a central role in developing this work. By ensuring that all parties are involved in developing this work, the Scottish Government is sending out a clear message on the level of cooperation expected under the FRM Act.
Clear responsibilities for tackling flooding
The FRM Act allows Scottish Ministers to identify further responsible authorities who will have a clearly defined role in flood risk management, and this work is underway. Particular consideration is being given to identifying the National Park authorities, British Waterways and the Forestry Commission Scotland as responsible authorities. The Scottish Government envisages that these "responsible authorities" could have a direct role in flood risk management and could act to support local authorities and SEPA in their respective roles under the FRM Act.
In addition to the duties defined under the FRM Act, Scottish Minister, SEPA, local authorities and Scottish Water fulfil a variety of other functions that can have an impact on flood management, for example, functions relating to energy, public water supply, transport, land-use planning, fisheries, enterprise, recreation and tourism, marine and agriculture. It is important that these functions are carried out in a way that helps to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Floods Directive, while also delivering coordinated approaches to managing flood risk across Scotland. The FRM Act allows for these functions to be designated under the FRM Act, thus bringing the general duty to cooperate into sharper focus and providing greater certainty of coordinated and successful actions.
Work is underway in these areas and the intention is to issue a consultation on our proposals in late 2010.
Establishment of River Basin Districts and cross-border arrangements
The FRM Act provides for the creation of flood risk management districts. These districts will form the units of management that will be used by SEPA to assess and map flood risk, and prepare plans to manage those risks. The FRM Act allowed for the districts to either be the same as the river basin districts designated under the 2003 Act, or to be other areas as designated by the Scottish Ministers. The districts designated under the 2003 Act were identified for the purposes of protecting the water environment and preparing river basin management plans.
After further consultation with SEPA and local authorities it was decided that the River Basin Districts defined under the 2003 Act were the most appropriate unit of management for SEPA to coordinate its work to prepare assessments and plans.
This creates two principal flood risk management districts for Scotland - a Scotland district and a cross border district with England and Wales (Solway and Tweed). Although these are large scale planning units, the clear intention is for all objectives and measures identified in the district plan to be coordinated across the catchments (river basins) that are contained within the larger district. A small further Northumbria District is almost entirely in England, apart from a very small sliver of the North Tyne river basin.
The flood risk management plans covering the cross border district need to be coordinated with the competent authority for the Directive in England and Wales, and the Scottish Government has been liaising with Defra to develop regulations on cross border arrangements. The UK administrations and agencies are also working closely to develop the partnerships and coordinated approach to tackling flooding in cross-border situations. To support this work, the Scottish Government is undertaking a lessons learned exercise on experiences on cross border working under the Water Framework Directive.
Working with nature to manage flooding
The benefits of working with nature to manage flooding are well recognised by flood risk managers and practitioners. This position is reflected in the FRM Act, which includes a number of provisions that will support the adoption of more natural approaches to managing flooding. At the heart of these approaches are three important concepts:
- human interventions have altered the character of our landscape and affected the timing, magnitude and duration of flood events;
- reinstatement of natural features of the landscape ( e.g. flood plains, wetlands and forests etc) can help to restore more run-off patterns and reduce flood risk;
- by reinstating natural features of the landscape, a wide range of coincident benefits can be realised, including biodiversity, amenity and recreational benefits.
These concepts are not new, and the importance of managing the sources, pathways and impacts of flood waters has been a key concept in flood risk management for a number of decades. However, a lack of scientific evidence on the effectiveness of this has limited the adoption of more natural approaches.
Over the past year, the Scottish Government established a stakeholder group to examine the research needs in this area and where changes in policy and practice are needed to deliver these more natural techniques. This work is now continuing under the SAIFF programme, and includes a project which is reviewing past and current projects that are providing evidence on the role of land use and river restoration on flood management.
Wherever possible, the Scottish Government is taking a partnership approach to developing an evidence base for adopting more natural flood management measures. The Scottish Government is working with and contributing funds to the Tweed Forum's river restoration project on the Eddleston Water (BOX 3). This project brings together a range of stakeholders to consider how, measures, such as creating wetlands and re-meandering can help improve the ecological health of the river while also lowering flood risk downstream in Eddleston Village and Peebles. The project is also being supported by SEPA through its river restoration fund which is supporting improvements to the quality of Scotland's rivers.
BOX 3 Working with nature to manage flooding - demonstration projects
The FRM Act places a clear emphasis on working with natural features and character__istics of catchments and coastlines to help reduce flood risk. This approach isn't intended to replace more traditional engineered solutions, which will always be required, but instead it is about looking across catchments and coastlines to see what opportunities exist to deal with flooding at source, while also delivering coincident benefits to the environment and rural businesses.
SEPA has used its Water Framework Directive restoration fund to support two demonstration projects to examine how best to plan and deliver more natural approaches to tackling flood problems
The Eddleston Water, a tributary of the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, offers an ideal opportunity to look at how land-use change and river engineering over the past 200 years has affected flood risk and the quality of the water environment. The project, which is managed by the Tweed Forum, supported by a range of stakeholders and part funded by SEPA and the Scottish Government will consider how to best engage with land managers to deliver changes that will reduce flood risk and improve the environment, such as river and flood plain restoration. At Skinflats in the Forth Estuary, SEPA has also funded work with the RSPB to restore inter-tidal habitat while also considering how this might contribute to reducing flood risk to surrounding land and properties.
Flood risk management and planning policy
Planning decisions remain one of the most powerful tools available for managing flood risks. 2009 saw significant changes to Scotland's planning system. Part of this work focused on simplifying Scottish planning policies by consolidating the 17 planning policies into one single document which is easier for the public and developers to understand and interpret.
To strengthen links between planning policy and flood risk management, the newly consolidated planning policies make explicit reference to the FRM Act. Building on this initial work, the Scottish Government is now considering further steps to strengthen the links between planning and flood risk management, this includes:
- examining how best to update the planning guidelines so as to ensure that the FRM Act forms an integral part of planning decisions;
- amending planning legislation so that flood risk management plans become a key consideration in the preparation of development plans;
- working with SEPA and local authorities to examine the implications of Section 42 of the FRM Act with a view to developing a practicable approach to taking forward this provision.
Research and projects to support implementation
To support the work of all bodies involved in tackling flooding, the Scottish Government is funding a series of priority projects. This includes a project to better understand the contribution that groundwater makes to flooding across the country, a project to examine potential impacts from flooding to critical national infrastructure, and a project to examine best practice in the area of surface water management and pluvial flooding with a view to issuing guidance on this matter in 2010.
The Scottish Government has also contributed to European wide research initiatives, including a project focusing on Understanding Uncertainty and Risk in communicating flooding information which is being led by the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen, in collaboration with research partners in Ireland, Finland, Italy and England. The project will produce guidelines to improve flood risk planning, flood hazard mapping and responses to flood warnings by investigating and illustrating how information on flooding is interpreted and used by different stakeholders.
Improving the safety of Scotland's reservoirs
The safe operation of Scotland Reservoirs is an important part of flood risk management, and although the overall risk of flooding from the failure of an impoundment is very low, the potential impacts could be severe. To ensure that Scotland benefits from a modern, risk-based approach to reservoir safety, the Scottish Government has consulted on proposed changes to the reservoir safety legislation to improve the safe operation of Scotland's reservoirs.
To support ongoing work in this area, the Scottish Government has set up a stakeholder group which includes water companies, utilities companies, local authorities and private land owners. The purpose of this group is to advise on the proposed changes and to gain the viewpoint of stakeholders.
The FRM Act includes provision for the transfer of reservoir enforcement responsibilities, from local authorities to SEPA. To ensure a smooth transition takes place, enforcement responsibilities are unlikely to be altered until the wider review of changes to reservoir safety legislation has been completed. To help prepare for the transfer of enforcement responsibilities, SEPA has begun work to assess the quantity and quality of data held for sites registered under the Reservoirs Act 1975.
Strengthening the role of communities - the Scottish Flood Forum
The Scottish Flood Forum ( SFF) was set up in October 2008, with funding from the Scottish Government and the feedback received, from local authorities, community councils and individuals who have been flooded, on the services provided by SFF is very positive. During the first 18 months the SFF has worked closely with SEPA to strengthen links with SEPA's flood risk awareness activities. In particular, the SFF has supported SEPA's annual flood awareness campaign and worked with communities to raise awareness of the new flood warning schemes launched in the north east of Scotland in March 2010.
The SFF has also worked closely with the private sector to raise awareness of the impact on flooding to businesses, not only in economic terms but also on the long term health of employees. The SFF along with local authorities has produced a joint flood recovery programme and provided help with appropriate training for the voluntary sector to support recovery of victims of a flood event.
The Scottish Government is now working with the SFF to extend its services throughout Scotland. The aim is to help as many communities as possible to establish their own self help flood groups. Over the next year the SFF aims to establish its own advisory board to develop strategically and secure charitable status. The SFF will also have an important role to play supporting SEPA's flood risk awareness raising and encouraging individuals to sign up to the new national flood warning dissemination service - Floodline Warnings Direct - which will start in March 2011.
SEPA - a strategic role in flood risk management
Under the Act, SEPA has been charged with significant new responsibilities. Central to SEPAs new role is the delivery of the national and strategic framework for flood risk management in Scotland. This will be achieved through the preparation of national flood risk assessments, maps and plans setting out short to longer-term objectives and measures to manage flood risk across Scotland. SEPA cannot deliver this work alone, and key to the success of this work will be the development of a close and productive working relationship with local authorities, Scottish Water, further public bodies and other stakeholders including the public.
Preparing the organisation for its new responsibilities
SEPA has established a formal programme to manage the implementation of its responsibilities under the FRM Act. The programme will ensure that SEPA is equipped with the right resources, skills, structures and technical tools to deliver its new responsibilities.
Flood risk management requires input from a wide breadth of policy and technical staff. To ensure that SEPA has the necessary science expertise, SEPA has developed a Flood Risk Science Trainee Programme. Ten trainees are being recruited each year (2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12) to work part time for SEPA (completing an in-house training competency framework) whilst studying part-time for a MSc at the University of Dundee or Stirling. When qualified, the successful graduates will be equipped to fill SEPA's anticipated future flood risks management roles helping deliver improved flood risk management for Scotland.
Creating an influential and partnership focused role in flood risk management
Under the FRM Act, SEPA will lead and facilitate strategic flood risk management planning while local authorities will lead in the preparation of detailed local plans which will include arrangements for implementing measures.
SEPA has already started to work with local authorities, Scottish Water and other stakeholders through the Scottish Government SAIFF programme. This has included developing proposals on the units of management for local flood risk management planning, and on advisory groups and other participation activities. These proposals will be subject to consultation with the wider stakeholder community in 2010.
An improved flood warning service for Scotland
Access to high quality and timely flood warning information is central to reducing the impact of flooding on communities and businesses. The Scottish Government has funded SEPA to take forward a series of initiatives to improve flood warning across Scotland.
New flood warning schemes
New flood warning systems for the rivers Dee, Don, Deveron and North Esk were launched by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead on 2 March 2010. These rivers have a long history of flooding and the need for early warning systems was confirmed in autumn 2009 when many areas were flooded by the worst floods in recent years. This two-year, £1 million project funded by the Scottish Government, provides warning to local authorities and emergency responders for at-risk areas including Aberdeen, Inverurie, Keith and Huntly, and provides alerts of flooding to agricultural land, rural settlements and transport links. The scheme was developed by extending existing river and rainfall monitoring facilities and developing hydrological models for the four river catchments.
A total of eleven new river level monitoring stations and twelve new rain gauges have been added to SEPA's hydrometric network to provide the input data required to run the system. Advanced flood forecasting models have also been developed and are now integrated into SEPA's national Flood Early Warning System ( FEWS).
Floodline Warnings Direct
A major extension and improvement to the existing Floodline service is under development following the provision of £8.6 million to SEPA by the Scottish Government. The enhanced service, Floodline Warnings Direct ( FWD), will enable SEPA, from April 2011, to send warning messages free of charge directly to any customers who have registered their landline and/or mobile phone (BOX 4).
Flooding partners and community representatives have been informed and consulted on a wide range of FWD topics including changing existing response arrangements, improving the targeting of flood warnings into communities and discussing the implications and benefits of introducing a new set of flood warning codes across Scotland, England and Wales. These new codes and icons follow substantial research on how people respond to flood warning information, and are designed to improve understanding and action.
Joint flood forecasting
The potential for joint flood forecasting took a step forward following the results of a Scottish Government funded scoping study to examine options for improving Scotland's flood warning capabilities through closer collaboration between SEPA and the Met Office. Following extensive consultation, a virtual Joint Flood Forecasting Centre for Scotland was selected as the preferred option for providing more accurate, regular, consistent and accessible advice and information to those who provide Scotland's flooding response. A business case will be submitted to Scottish Government to support the implementation of this service.
BOX 4 Floodline Warnings Direct ( FWD)
A major extension and improvement to the existing Floodline service is under development following the provision of £8.6 million to SEPA by the Scottish Government. The overall aim of this project is to give businesses and members of the public crucial extra time to prepare and take action to reduce or avoid the harmful consequences of floods;
By April 2011, the enhanced service, Floodline Warnings Direct ( FWD), will be active and will allow:
- members of the public and businesses to register for free warnings;
- warning messages to be sent by SEPA directly to customers;
- customers to receive short message warnings on landlines or mobile phones.
Raising awareness of flooding
To raise awareness of flood risk and to provide advice and guidance on how to reduce its impact, SEPA, in collaboration with the Scottish Flood Forum, local authorities and other partners, undertook significant Floodline campaign activities throughout 2009. These included community flooding information events, media relations, advertising and sponsorship, newsletters and other engagement activities.
SEPA also reached out to the next generation of home owners with an educational play for primary school children which toured the north east of Scotland to coincide with the launch of the new North East Scotland flood warning schemes.
Improving understanding of flood risk across Scotland
Under the FRM Act, SEPA is tasked with preparing a national overview of flooding problems across Scotland, culminating in an assessment of those areas of Scotland most vulnerable to flooding. This assessment will improve our understanding of flood risk and help target actions to reduce these risks. It will also create for the first time a central repository of flooding information. Over the last year, SEPA has been working closely with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders to develop the methods and tools required to make this assessment. This work is being taken forward through the SAIFF programme, and the intention is to issue Ministerial Guidance on the form and content of the flood risk assessment in 2010.
SEPA has also been working with the Scottish Government to understand the impact of floods on Scotland's critical national infrastructure. This work will be reported and shared with the Scottish Government in early 2010.
Flood management and regulation of the water environment
The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) Regulations (Scotland) 2005 (known as CAR) cover activities that can both increase flood risk if poorly planned ( e.g. under-sized culverts) and activities that are carried out by land managers, local authorities and others to reduce flood risk ( e.g. dredging, flood walls etc.). The Regulations are intended to promote more sustainable use of the water environment by providing protection to the quality of ecosystems that are dependent on it.
SEPA is using its role as regulator to minimise the risk of such activities increasing flood hazards, as well as ensuring that flood risk related work is proportionate and takes account of environmental impacts. We are working with land managers and local authorities through a number of forums, such as NFUS and the SCOTS flooding group, to discuss issues, promote good practice and ensure the regulations are proportionate, effective and do not cause unnecessary delays.
Provision of flood risk advice
SEPA currently has a duty to provide flood risk advice to Planning Authorities when consulted on applications for development where the Planning Authority considers there may be a risk of flooding. In 2009, SEPA commented on flood risk in over 1,500 planning applications, and in excess of 300 flood risk assessments.
The FRM Act reaffirms this duty and specifies that SEPA must consider flood risk using relevant information in its possession. Such data will, in time, include information derived under other duties in the FRM Act, 4 including flood hazard and risk maps and flood risk management plans. SEPA has established an interim position on its duties to provide flood risk advice under the FRM Act with a view to developing a detailed position in 2010.
Local authorities - flood protection schemes
Local authorities continue to play a central role managing flood risk under the FRM Act. Existing local authority duties and powers, which include undertaking clearance and repair works on watercourses and taking forward flood protection schemes, have been strengthened. For instance, past restrictions on where and what type of schemes a local authority could undertake to tackle flood risk have been removed.
Under the FRM Act, local authorities are also now required to prepare local flood risk management plans. These plans supplement the district plans prepared by SEPA and will ensure that the objectives and measures set out in district plans are translated into locally targeted and coordinated actions to manage flood risks. Local plans must be consistent with the district plans, but may include additional, locally relevant information, including additional details of particular measures. Local authorities will take the lead on this work, but they will need to do so in close partnership with SEPA and other responsible authorities. All local plans must be accompanied by an implementation strategy setting out how the measures described in the local plan will be delivered.
Coordinating implementation of the FRM Act across local authorities
An important aim of the FRM Act is the promotion of nationally coordinated and consistent approaches to tackling flood risks across Scotland. This is very much about learning from and adopting the best examples and practices from local authorities.
To assist in this work the Society of Chief Officers of Transport in Scotland ( SCOTS), which represents all local authorities in Scotland, is playing an important role in raising awareness of the FRM Act and the need for local authorities to consider their existing and future flood management work within the context of the FRM Act.
The Scottish Government along with SEPA and Scottish Water has joined SCOTS to raise the profile of flood risk management across Scotland and to assist local authorities establish, as far as possible, a consistent approach when drawing up their local plans on flood management. The Group has arranged four meetings and four workshops per annum to engage authorities on different aspects of the FRM Act and managing flood risk in general. The SCOTS group is also working closely with the Scottish Government implementation programme ( SAIFF), thus ensuing that the breadth of knowledge and expertise within local authorities is engagement in development of the policies, guidance and legislation that is supporting implementation of the FRM Act.
Examples of ongoing work to tackle flood risk
Over the past year, local authorities continue to progress important work to tackle flooding problems. Table 2 provides a summary of some of this work. This is not an exhaustive list, and other important work continues in many parts of the country.
Table 2 Some examples of recent flood protection work by local authorities
Other Partners involved
Tillicoultry - Flood protection Scheme
In early 2008 Tillicoultry suffered severe fluvial flooding when the River Devon overflowed and breached an old railway embankment.
This was perceived as a threat to life and property. As a result the Council is developing flood protection schemes, with the main focus being on building new defences and large scale attenuation measures.
Forres - Mosset Burn flood protection scheme
The £21 million scheme was completed in August 2009. It comprises a flood storage reservoir capable of impounding 3.5 million cubic metres of water, a flood relief channel at the village of Rafford and minor works in the town of Forres. It protects over 800 homes and businesses from flooding.
Within one week of the official commissioning ceremony the scheme was called into action, saving 350 properties from devastation and the returning £9 million financial benefits for the economy and further intangible benefits.
River restoration to recreate a wetland which acts as a silt trap promotes biodiversity, and there are already signs of an increase in wildlife in this new habitat.
Scottish Borders Council
Galashiels, Selkirk and Hawick - flood protection scheme
The Council along with other partners are in the process of developing flood protection schemes for Galashiels, Selkirk and Hawick.
In preparing for the scheme, it was apparent that more natural approaches could form an important part of the solution. For instance, it was recognised that an existing Loch and reservoir operated by SW if managed differently could have flood mitigation benefits and this now being investigated.
The Tweed Forum are assisting in negotiations with landowners and farmers to encourage them to become involved in all three schemes
Scottish Water, Tweed Forum
Some local authorities are already working proactively to prepare flood management plans. For instance, Inverclyde Council is working in partnership with SEPA, Scottish Water and neighbouring authorities to prepare a flood plan listing the flood risks associated with the several watercourses and reservoirs in Inverclyde. Flood maps are included in the plan which highlights the coastal and fluvial flood risk areas in accordance with SEPA's flood maps. The plan also takes into consideration catchment areas and hydraulic models to identify the frequency and extent of flooding. Plans like this will form an important component of the flood risk management plans that will be prepared under the FRM Act.
A partnership approach to tackling surface water flooding
Pluvial (or surface water) flooding is one of the most complex areas of flood risk management, and an area where partnership working is essential. Pluvial flooding occurs when rain accumulates and runs over hard surfaces, for instance in urban centres although it could equally occur in rural areas ( e.g. frozen surfaces). Although towns and cities have drainage infrastructure to deal with this water, increases in the number of buildings, roads and impermeable surfaces means that the amount of water running into these drains can quickly overwhelm the system, causing significant flooding problems. Where these drains are carrying rain water and waste water ( i.e. combined sewer systems), floods can become contaminated by this waste water, causing further risks to public health and safety, as well as the quality of our rivers.
Responsibilities for drainage infrastructure in our towns and cities is split between Scottish Water, local authorities and property owners. The most effective approach for tackling pluvial flooding is therefore through a partnership between all the parties involved. By coordinating efforts, opportunities to deliver wider societal and environmental benefits can also be realised, for instance, by freeing up land for economic development or reducing pollution entering our watercourses. An excellent example of the benefits that can be gained through close collaboration is the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Plan ( MGSDP) (BOX 5).
The work in Glasgow is providing a template for tackling surface water. To capture key lessons from this work, the Scottish Government has contracted a project to prepare guidance on managing surface water. This project will build on the experience and knowledge developed by the MGSDP so that the lessons from Glasgow can be applied across Scotland to support implementation of the FRM Act.
BOX 5 -An exemplar approach to managing surface water flooding MGSDP
The MGSDP is built upon a partnership which originally consisted of Glasgow City Council, Scottish Water and SEPA to develop a more integrated approach to flood risk management. The membership has recently evolved to include South Lanarkshire Council, and the Clyde Gateway Regeneration Company with other local authorities and stakeholders in surrounding areas expressing an interest to become involved.
The ultimate aim of this work is to provide an integrated approach to managing surface water which will reduce flood risk and unlock development potential while improving water quality and allowing residential areas to co-exist with the natural landscape. Ultimately, this approach will benefit the stakeholders involved, the environment and address the social impacts of drainage related problems.
Over the last year, the MGSDP has made significant progress towards delivering a surface water management plan for Glasgow. A number of flood protection projects are being developed, some of which are associated with the 2014 Commonwealth Games venues and/or its access routes. These schemes will help to support the Games and will be carried out in advance of this major event.
Scottish Water - sewer flooding and the urban environment
Scottish Water is responsible for the drainage of rainwater run-off from roofs and any paved ground surface from the boundary of a property. Scottish Water also protects homes from flooding caused by sewers either surcharging (overflowing sewers once their drainage capacity is exceeded) or becoming restricted due to chokes or collapses. Under the FRM Act, Scottish Water is also responsible for contributing to the preparation of assessments and plans to manage flooding.
Preparing the organisation for its new responsibilities
Scottish Water has recognised the need to realign its business to meet the requirements of the FRM Act. To support this work, a Flood Risk Management team has been established with Scottish Water. Scottish Water has also worked to strengthen its partnerships with the other bodies responsible for tackling flooding, and has worked closely with the Scottish Government, SEPA and a number of other stakeholders on issues relating to water and water assets.
A simple leaflet has also been produced by Scottish Water for their customers explaining how Scottish Water's responsibilities for tackling flooding are changing.
Understanding where properties are at risk of sewer flooding
Sewer flooding is a particularly traumatic experience for property owners and tenants, so Scottish Water operate a flood care scheme for those affected. If a customer's property is flooded Scottish Water will nominate a representative to keep in contact with the customer to offer advice and assistance until the property is restored even helping customers liaise with insurance companies.
Customers who experience internal flooding are given assistance to find alternative accommodation while clean-up work is carried out on their property irrelevant of whether the customer is insured or not. In certain cases Scottish Water will consider making a goodwill payment to uninsured customers in extreme cases.
A register of all properties connected to inadequate sewers is held by Scottish Water. In March 2006 there was 1,603 properties listed on the Register but between 2006 and 2010 Scottish Water has managed to reduce the number by 431. Scottish Water is also working to improve their response to other problems, such as blockages and collapses due to faulty underground infrastructure.
An integrated approach to surface water management - role of SUDs
To support improved partnership in the field of surface water management, Scottish Water and the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland ( SCOTS) have been working together to develop agreements under Section 7 of the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968.
These "Section 7" agreements are helping local authorities and Scottish Water to share a single drainage system and to encourage best practice in the use of Sustainable Urban Drainage ( SUDS) methods. Scottish Water is currently holding talks with all of Scotland's 32 local authorities on the use of Section 7 agreements to support improvements to surface water management.
Other examples of important SUDs initiatives across Scotland include:
- The South Dalmarnock SUDS Pilot Study (Clyde Gateway). This SUDS scheme helps the removal of surface water from local combined sewerage systems which enable economic development, deliver green space, social amenity benefits and alleviate flood risk for an important part of the Clyde Gateway area. The knowledge gained from this first regional scheme will assist in the development and progress for other surface water removal projects within the overall Clyde Gateway area.
- The Green Network Exemplar is currently developing high level SUDS solutions that will not only alleviate flood risk but will also deliver health, social and economic benefits to communities at six different locations in the west central belt of Scotland.