Coastal communities to benefit from improved Moray Firth flood warning service

  06 October 2014
More than 9,000 homes and businesses could benefit from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) improved coastal flood warning service for the Moray Firth, which was launched today (Monday 6 October) by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Paul Wheelhouse.

Seventeen new flood warning areas have been introduced to help vulnerable communities at risk of flooding along the Moray Firth coastline from Wick in Caithness to Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire.

The first in a short series of public drop-in events on the improved flood warning service will be held at the Inverness Townhouse later today. Members of the public can also attend events at Lossiemouth Town Hall (on 8 October) and Bridge Street Community Education Centre in Banff (on 9 October) to find out more about flooding and what the Floodline service has to offer.  All events will take place between 2.30pm – 7pm.

Richard Brown, Head of Hydrology at SEPA, said:

“The improved coastal flood warning service is designed to help communities around the Moray Firth which have been badly affected by flooding in recent years. We hope to see as many people as possible who live and work in, or travel through, the new flood warning areas, at the forthcoming drop-in events.

“By signing up to SEPA’s Floodline flood warning service, locals in these areas will receive free advance notification when flooding is predicted, providing crucial time to prepare and protect themselves, and their properties, against the damage which flooding can cause.  It’s important to remember that it’s never too early to sign up to Floodline and also to take action and create your own flood plan.”

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

“I welcome SEPA’s new coastal flood warning service to help some of our most vulnerable communities along the Moray Firth coastline.

“We don’t have to go back too far to remember the severe storm which caused significant flooding and damage to areas all along this coastline in 2012. Those same communities were affected once again by coastal flooding in December last year.

“It is very important that everyone is vigilant to the threat of flooding but this can best be optimised when individuals have access to timely and useful information on the flood risk they face. Flood warning systems can give people the time to take action to protect their homes and businesses from the worst impacts of coastal flooding – action which can make a real difference, either to the cost of damage caused by a flood or the time spent recovering after a flood.

“I would strongly encourage residents and businesses to attend one of SEPA’s drop-in events to find out more about the services on offer to them, how they can use the information and, most importantly, I urge people to sign-up to Floodline. I use the warning service myself and it has proved to be of considerable benefit over recent years.”

In addition to the Floodline service, which provides direct warnings to people and businesses in Scotland, SEPA is working in partnership with the Met Office through the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service (SFFS). The SFFS provides daily guidance on the potential flood risk for the next five days to all local authorities, emergency services and other emergency responders in Scotland, allowing them to plan their response to flood threats.

Through the Floodline service SEPA currently provides advance flood warnings for over 250 areas across Scotland, and people can sign up to receive free notifications of flood warning messages direct to their choice of mobile or landline numbers at or by calling 0345 988 1188 or 0845 988 1188.


Notes to Editors

  • SEPA has funded the project to improve the Moray Firth coastal flood forecasting with contributions from Highland Council, Moray Council and Aberdeenshire Council, and has worked closely with the local authorities to develop the new flood warning areas.

The 17 new flood warning areas are:

Highland: Ardersier to Nairn, Inverness Harbour and South Kessock, Inverness City (Ness Bridge to Friars Bridge), Beauly Firth, Rosemarkie to Avoch, Cromarty Firth, Rockfield to Balintore, Portmahomack to Inver, Helmsdale to Embo, Lybster to Dunbeath, and Wick.

Moray: Portgordon to Cullen, Spey Viaduct to Spey Bay, and Findhorn to Lossiemouth

Aberdeenshire: Rosehearty to Fraserburgh, Gardenstown to Pennan, and Portsoy to Macduff.

  • The River Ness Flood Scheme, currently under construction by Highland Council, will reduce the risk of flooding to properties located within the Inverness Harbour and South Kessock Flood Warning Area and the Inverness City (Ness Bridge to Friars Bridge) Flood Warning Area from Spring 2015.

About the Floodline service –

  • Across Scotland, there are approximately 125,000 properties at risk of flooding.

  • 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.

  • Flooding advice videos can also be viewed on SEPA’s YouTube site:

Types of flooding

  • Flooding can be caused by a number of sources; river flooding, coastal flooding, and surface water flooding in heavy downpours, when the ground can’t absorb any more water and from blocked drains overflowing.

About SEPA –

  • The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s environmental regulator and flood warning authority. SEPA’s flood warning service includes Floodline; a 24 hour telephone and online information service covering all of Scotland. To operate the service, SEPA monitors weather forecasts, rainfall and water levels. SEPA is also responsible for providing advice to local authorities on flood risk for planning purposes and for the national co-ordination of flood risk management planning in Scotland and the production of national flood hazard and risk maps.