Macaulay Scientists Involved in Flood Research

Communities in Aberdeenshire and Glasgow are likely to be used as case studies.

The move is the latest by the Scottish Government to improve flood prevention and protection measures and follows recent flooding across parts of Scotland.

Announcing the research, which will be carried out by the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute (MLURI), Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:

"As we have seen again all too recently, flooding can have distressing consequences for families and businesses. It is crucial that when floods are forecast, warning information is relayed quickly and with the greatest effect.

"We already provide funding to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to continually improve flood risk warnings and it recently launched a new national campaign to increase public awareness of how to access information on flooding.

"This new research will help us identify additional ways of improving flood warning systems. It is further evidence of the action we are taking to protect our communities from the risk of flooding - a risk which is likely to increase as climate change impacts."

Action on flooding already taken by the Scottish Government includes:

  • new legislation to speed up and simplify the process for flood protection schemes and to better co-ordinate action to manage flooding
  • record levels of funding to local authorities for flood risk management
  • £9.8 million for SEPA to improve flood warnings across Scotland, including a new flood warning scheme for the north east
  • the Scottish Flood Forum to support and represent those who affected by or at risk from flooding

The Scottish Government is making £60,000 available to the Macaulay for the UR-Flood project.

Phillipa Booth, the Macaulay's project co-ordinator, said:

"This project aims to improve flood risk planning within Government, and by both environmental organisations and individual householders. We want to determine how communities respond to flood warnings and determine the best ways to communicate with all parties to relay the risks of future flooding events. "

The UR Flood (Understanding uncertainty and Risk in communicating about Floods) will examine how different people interpret and use flood risk messages to influence their own actions.

UR Flood is a collaborative research project worth some €250,000 and the Macaulay will co-ordinate its work with partners in Finland, Ireland and Italy. Case study locations are yet to be confirmed but are likely to be in Glasgow and Aberdeenshire (Scotland), Rovaniemi and Helsinki (Finland), Dublin, County Tipperary and County Cork (Ireland) and in locations in Italy.

The project is due to be completed by August 2011. It will build on the review of Floodline being carried out by SEPA in partnership with the Environment Agency.

The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act was passed by Parliament earlier this year and is due to commence later this month.

In 2007-08 the Scottish Government increased the amount of money available to local authorities for flood measures to £42 million. Thereafter the funding arrangements changed with the money rolled up into overall funding to local authorities, using the 2007-08 figure of £42 million as a baseline. It is now up to local authorities to decide how best to spend the overall money they receive from the Scottish Government.

Published on 18 November 2009 in Climate, water and energy