New flood early warning scheme

Coastal storms at Stonehaven. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council.
Coastal storms at Stonehaven. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council.

New flood warning systems are to be introduced around the Aberdeenshire coast.

Stonehaven, and Inverbervie to Tangleha, are among the areas to be covered under the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) announcement this week.

The initiative is to increase resilience for vulnerable communities around Scotland’s coast.

It is estimated that more than 169,000 homes and businesses will be at risk from flooding by 2080 due to climate change.

Coastal flood damage is reckoned to cost the Scottish economy £53million each year.

The new early warning areas will extend the SEPA floodline service to take in nearly the whole of the east coast.

It includes an additional 2,589 properties and provides accurate, advanced warning to prepare communities against the impact of coastal flood events

As Scotland’s national authority for flood forecasting and warning, the agency operates a 24-hour flood forecasting and warning service to inform first responders, local authorities and emergency services of emerging flood events and the potential impact on local communities and critical infrastructure.

Operating 365 days a year, over 300 flood alerts and 400 flood warnings are issued annually via floodline directly to 26,944 customers nationwide, with many thousands more accessing them online.

SEPA says the new warning areas for Orkney and the North-east coast represents a significant investment and enhancement of Scotland’s overall resilience to the impact of climate change and extreme weather.

Vincent Fitzsimons, SEPA’s head of hydrology and flooding services, said: “Scotland needs to be prepared more powerfully for weather extremes and rising sea levels, which as we know, is only ever-increasing as a result of climate change,

“As sea levels rise all around the UK coastline, it brings with it the risk of coastal erosion and more frequent flooding for exposed coastal communities.

“As the Scottish flood forecasting, flood warning and strategic flood risk management authority, our work will continue with the latest National Flood Risk Assessment, due to be published in December, to ensure that Scotland remains resilient in the face of increased flooding.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland’s climate is changing, and this means extreme weather events, including floods, are expected to occur more frequently in the years ahead.

“The Scottish Government realises that it’s vital that we work alongside partners like SEPA and local authorities, to do everything in our powers to improve resilience against issues like flooding, in some of our most vulnerable communities.”

Other areas to be covered include Aberdeen Coastal, Port Errol to Newburgh, Peterhead to Boddam and Inverallochy to St Combs.