Scotland maps flood risk as climate change kicks in

Scotland's environment agency has produced an online 'flood map' of the country, giving people easy access flood risk information that it says will be increasingly necessary in a changing climate.

The map shows areas of Scotland with a high flood risk, defined as a 0.5% (1 in 200) chance of being flooded in any given year, including the Edinburgh waterfront and parts of central Glasgow as well as other urban areas.

The number of homes and businesses under risk from flooding will grow as sea levels and river flows increase in a warmer climate, SEPA said.

“Climate change is happening,” the agency said, stressing that it is already measuring higher river flows consistent with the predictions of climate change models.

The map is designed to show how likely a particular area is to be flooded, and includes a postcode or place search facility, combined with advice on how to protect people and property in case of flooding. It is the result of a three-year, £2m project funded by the Scottish Executive.

Dr. Chris Spray, director of environmental science at SEPA said the map “can be used to inform planning considerations and to generally raise awareness of flooding. We all need to be more aware of potential risks and prepared for action.”

The online publication could affect property prices, experts have warned, despite SEPA’s great efforts to prevent misinterpretation, with the reader redirected through several pages of instructions on using the map before being allowed to see the map proper.

Scotland’s deputy environment minister Rhona Brankin said: “As I have seen recently for myself, flooding can cause major disruption and distress. With climate change already happening, the risk of flooding will increase in the coming years.”

SEPA plans to update the flood map in line with changing risks as global warming kicks in.

The flood map of Scotland is available here.

Goska Romanowicz

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie