SEPA targets flooding with new 'milestone' maps

  15 January 2014
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has today (Wednesday 15 January) published the most comprehensive national source of data on flood hazard and risk for Scotland.

The new flood maps are an important step in increasing understanding of the sources and impacts of flooding and will be a key tool in producing Scotland's first ever co-ordinated plans to tackle flood risk.

The maps, which have been developed in partnership with local authorities and Scottish Water, share more information on flooding than ever before with members of the public.

The maps show different types of flooding, the likelihood of this happening and the impact of flooding when it does happen. The new national map, which builds on the information available in the previous Indicative River and Coastal Flood Map, features areas at risk from surface water flooding and includes information on depth and velocity where available.

One of the other new flood maps developed by the Agency identifies areas where there is an opportunity for natural flood management.  This is part of a more sustainable approach to tackling flooding in Scotland, and uses the natural processes and shape of the land to help to reduce flood risk.

SEPA, working closely with local authorities and Scottish Water, will use the new flood maps to produce Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans. These co-ordinated plans will look at whole river catchments and coastlines and identify what actions should be taken to manage flooding in Scotland.

This approach to Flood Risk Management Planning, and the development of new flood maps, has been driven by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act (FRM Act) which has encouraged more partnership working between public bodies and a greater wealth of knowledge and understanding of how flooding can be managed proactively.

James Curran, Chief Executive of SEPA, said:

The publication of new flood maps is a key milestone of the FRM Act, and will help us and our partners to take a more co-ordinated, sustainable and targeted approach towards reducing the impacts which flooding can have.

"It is clear that there has never been a greater need for this information as we have seen, yet again over the last month, the misery that flooding has brought to communities across the country. As many people will be all too aware, flooding is a real threat and it can have devastating effects on lives and properties. In Scotland, for many years now, we've been aware of the expected increase in flooding caused by climate change and by having more information on the types of flooding and its impacts we can make more informed decisions and target our resources in the areas where we can make a real difference.

"We can all help to reduce the impacts of flooding. By taking action now members of the public and businesses can limit the damage which flooding can cause. People can learn more about how flooding can affect their lives by looking at the flood maps, and use this information to help prepare and protect themselves and their properties. We would also encourage people to sign up to our Floodline service to receive free advance notification of flooding 24 hours a day."

Following the launch of the new flood risk and hazard maps at the Scottish Government's Flood Summit, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Paul Wheelhouse said:

SEPA's new flood risk and hazard maps are an extremely useful tool in supporting flood risk strategies across Scotland as they show not only the extent of flooding under different risk scenarios, but also the potential depth and velocity of flood waters. With extreme weather events predicted to become more frequent, it is of the utmost importance that we are as prepared as possible to respond when these hit.

"A huge amount of work has gone into the creation of these maps and their launch comes as a result of successful partnership working between the Scottish Government, SEPA, Local Authorities and Scottish Water. This tool will help us to better understand the nature of flood risks at a local level and thereby to target efforts to plan and invest in mitigating potential flooding impacts in vulnerable areas."

Through the Floodline service, SEPA 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 by calling 0845 988 1188.

You can access SEPA's live flood warning information for all of Scotland 24/7 every day of the year at by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.