Consultation on areas most at risk of flooding

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is consulting on a review of Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) to protect communities from future impacts of flooding.
​This winter, SEPA issued a record number of Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings.​This winter, SEPA issued a record number of Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings.
​This winter, SEPA issued a record number of Flood Alerts and Flood Warnings.

It comes as the number of homes, businesses and services at risk across Scotland is projected to increase by around 40% by the 2080s due to climate change.

PVAs are areas where significant flood risk exists now or is likely to occur in the future and are used to identify locations where a partnership approach may be required to resolve widespread and often complex flooding issues.

They inform Scotland’s Flood Risk Management (FRM) Plans and Local Flood Risk Management Plans and become the focus of FRM actions, helping responsible authorities to prioritise investment and coordinate actions to reduce the impacts of flooding on communities.

Identifying PVAs is an essential part of protecting people, properties, businesses, communities, infrastructure, and our environment, with an estimated 284,000 homes, businesses and services across Scotland currently identified as at risk of flooding.

This winter, SEPA issued a record number of regional Flood Alerts and local Flood Warnings to the public.

A total of 720 messages were sent between 1st September 2023 and 16th February 2024. The previous record of 714 was set over autumn and winter 2015/16.

Siobhan McNulty, Flood Risk Planning Manager at SEPA, said: “It is vital we work together with partners and communities to identify the areas most at risk so we can work together to increase Scotland's resilience to flooding. PVAs are the first step in this process.”

The review will focus on smaller, community-based target areas set within wider zones of influence to provide clearer information on how flood risk is tackled in Scotland. Once the PVAs are formally designated, SEPA will then prepare FRM plans to set objectives and actions for reducing flood risk. The local FRM plans published by each lead local authority will then provide more detail, including timescales and funding.

Responses can be submitted at until June 24.

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