Flood Risk Management Planning in Scotland


National Flood Risk Assessment(NFRA) in December 2011, the Scottish Government and SEPA have published Flood Risk Management Planning in Scotland: Arrangements for 2012-2016 (the Guidance).

The Guidance is primarily aimed at Scottish local authorities and Scottish Water and offers guidance on the flood risk management planning process under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009.

In summary, the Guidance contains the following information:

Sustainable Flood Risk Management: Section 2 of the Guidance summarises the findings of the NFRA and highlights the potentially vulnerable areas in Scotland. It also explains that the purpose of Flood Risk Management Strategies (FRMSs) to be prepared by SEPA is to provide a national picture of flood risk and ensure a nationally consistent and co-ordinated approach to flood risk management. Local Flood Risk Management Plans (FRMPs) on the other hand, are to be prepared by local authorities and turn the objectives and actions set out in the relevant FRMS into a delivery programme for each potentially vulnerable area.
Flood Risk Management Strategies: Preparation of an FRMS will involve SEPA, in consultation with local authorities and Scottish Water, gathering information on the cause and consequences of flooding for the relevant area, mapping the artificial and natural features in the area and preparing flood risk and flood hazard maps. This will be followed by the identification of objectives and actions for reducing flood risk. Once the actions are identified an appraisal will be undertaken and actions will be prioritised. Draft FRMSs are expected to be published for consultation in December 2014 and approved by the Scottish Ministers before December 2015.
Flood Risk Management Plans: Preparation of an FRMP will involve local authorities mapping relevant water bodies in their area and assessing their condition and flood risk, assessing surface water management issues in the area and gathering information on current flood risk management activity in their area. Scottish Water will be responsible for assessing flood risk from sewerage systems. A delivery plan will then be developed for implementing the priority actions identified in the relevant FRMS. A Surface Water Management Plan will also need to be developed for each area although the level of detail will depend on the particular circumstances of the area. The FRMP may also identify local priority actions in addition to those identified in the FRMS. Draft FRMPs are expected to be published for consultation from December 2014 to April 2015 with final plans to be published by June 2016. FRMPs will be on a six year cycle and will require an implementation report to be published by June 2019 and a final report by June 2022.
Partnerships and Advisory Groups: The Guidance explains that local partnerships and advisory groups will help to deliver FRMSs and FRMPs. Local partnerships will consist of local authorities, SEPA and Scottish Water although each local partnership is given flexibility to determine its detailed working arrangements. Local advisory groups will consist of other stakeholders and may link with Area Advisory Groups for River Basin Management Planning. Members of local advisory groups may include SNH, National Parks, NGOs and fishery trusts. The National Flood Management Advisory Group, Cross Border Advisory Group and Scottish Government Flooding Policy Stakeholder Group will also contribute to the partnership working in flood risk management.
River Basin Management Planning and Land-use Planning: SEPA and local authorities will ensure that the FRMSs and FRMPs are consistent with River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) and support the delivery of the objectives contained in RBMPs. SEPA will also work with local authorities, developers and other interested parties to provide flood risk advice and ensure the planning system is able to contribute to effective and sustainable flood management.