First targeted coastal flood warning service for east coast of Scotland launched

date28 January 2013

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has launched Scotland’s first targeted coastal flood warning service for the firths of Forth and Tay.

Twenty-eight new flood warning areas have been set up along estuaries on the east coast of Scotland, stretching from Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders to Arbroath in Angus.  

The new schemes are a major development of SEPA’s successful Floodline service, which has seen over 14,000 people sign up since its launch less than two years ago.

Coastal flooding has affected many communities along the east coast of Scotland in recent years, particularly Kirkcaldy, Musselburgh and Arbroath. There are 125,000 properties at risk from flooding in Scotland which is one in 22 homes and one in 13 businesses.

Now anyone in the 28 coastal areas – including those who live in, work or travel through them – can sign up and receive advance coastal flood warnings direct to their phone 24 hours a day. This will give people valuable time to take action to protect their families, homes and businesses from the damage flooding can cause. It also allows people travelling through affected areas to make alternative travel arrangements if their usual travel routes have been disrupted.

A campaign is being launched by meteorologist and TV weatherman Sean Batty today to encourage those living in the 28 coastal areas to sign up to receive free advance warnings from Floodline. This includes advertising and letters sent to householders.

Dr David Pirie, SEPA’s Director of Science and Strategy, said:

We are delighted to launch the new coastal flood warning service for the firths of Forth and Tay. It represents a major investment in building community resilience to coastal flooding. As we saw before Christmas this can cause significant disruption and damage so it’s vital we are aware and prepared for it."

Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change said:

In recent weeks we have seen just how damaging coastal flooding can be to our local communities. It is important that we do everything in our power to protect, help and prepare people who are living or working in areas at risk from flooding.

“Advance warnings can make a huge difference and I’m delighted that we now have the first ever coastal flood warning service for the east of Scotland. This new scheme is a crucial step to make sure local communities are informed and ready well in advance of any potential flooding.

“Thanks to SEPA’s National Flood Risk Assessment, we now have a national picture of all forms of flood risk, including coastal. This helps to identify areas most vulnerable to flooding to ensure they get the support and investment required to reduce the devastating impacts caused by flooding.”

Sean said:

Coastal flooding in Scotland can be caused by storms and tidal surges. As a result, homes, businesses and lives can be devastated in a matter of minutes.

“An advance warning service like Floodline makes sure that people living in at-risk areas have as much preparation time as possible.”

People can sign up to receive flood warning messages at or by calling 0845 988 1188.

SEPA’s top tips: during a flood, make sure you:

  • Do not try to walk, drive or swim through a flood
  • Do not walk on sea defences, riverbanks or across river bridges
  • Avoid any form of direct contact with flood water
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires
  • Pay attention to flood warnings and updates from Floodline
  • Have a flood plan which can be put into practice

More information about safety during a flood can be found here:


Notes to editor

About the Floodline service –

Across Scotland, there are approximately 125,000* properties at risk of flooding: that’s one in 22 residential properties and one in 13 business premises.

Anyone – including those who live in, work or travel through areas at risk of flooding – can sign up to SEPA’s Floodline service and receive details on the likelihood and timing of any potential flooding threat. This ensures everyone in Scotland can get the benefit of SEPA’s extensive flood forecasting expertise and monitoring networks.

There are three types of warning message: Flood Alert; Flood Warning; Severe Flood Warning. If you receive one of these messages you should go online or call Floodline for advice on how to ensure your family know what to do and your belongings are protected.

About the 28 Coastal Areas Covered

  • Angus: Arbroath Coastal
  • Dundee: Broughty Ferry; Dundee Central; Riverside West
  • Fife: Newburgh; Newport on Tay; Tayport; Guardbridge; St Andrews; Anstruther to West Elie; Lower Largo; Leven and Methil; Kirkcaldy; Kinghorn; Burntisland to Aberdour; North Queensferry and Inverkeithing Bay; Rosyth, Limekilns and Charlestown; Torryburn and Newmills; Culross, Longannet and Kincardine
  • Falkirk: Blackness; Grangemouth
  • Edinburgh: Granton and Leith; Portobello Esplanade
  • East Lothian: Musselburgh Central; Prestonpans, Cockenzie and Port Seton; North Berwick; Dunbar including West Barns
  • Scottish Borders: Eyemouth Coastal

* Statistics used from SEPA’s National Flood Risk Assessment 2011. Can be found at