The saying goes “it doesn’t rain but it pours” and for the Bo’ness and Linlithgow area in the last month or so that has certainly been the case.
If people thought the chaos spread by the tail end of Storm Desmond was bad – admittedly the closure of the Forth Road Bridge did not help – they will not be too happy to read a new Scottish Government report which predicts more of the same in coming months and years.
According to the new publication, Mapping Flood Disadvantage in Scotland 2015, climate change is likely to aggravate the frequency and severity of flooding in Scotland – with the Bo’ness and Linlithgow areas potentially subject to the highest risk of flooding and classed as being at “acute risk”.
Scottish environment minister Aileen McLeod welcomed the findings of the report, which recommends local authorities like Falkirk Council and West Lothian Council work closely with third sector organisations to help provide support for communities in the case of flooding.
Dr McLeod said: “Climate change is happening now. Extreme weather is having an impact in Scotland and across Europe and the world – as some communities have already experienced to devastating effect this winter.
“This report highlights the changing climate is increasing the risk of flooding for a number of Scottish communities, including Bo’ness and Linlithgow. Identifying and understanding why some neighbourhoods are more flood disadvantaged than others is essential to help us plan and target the right support to communities at flood risk.
“These findings will be used by a variety of organisations, from local authorities to community resilience groups, to raise awareness of flood risks and decide how to act.”
The Scottish Government commissioned this research back in January to update work carried out in 2013 and follow on from the first National Flood Risk Assessment (NFRA) carried out by SEPA in 2011.
The risk assessment suggested that one in 22 of all residential properties, four per cent or 108,000 homes, in Scotland were at risk of flooding from various sources, including coastal, river and surface water.
The new report states: “Climate change is likely to exacerbate the frequency and severity of flooding in Scotland. The impacts from flooding under the changing climate could disproportionately affect some sectors of society, because the ability of individuals and communities to cope with flooding differs.
“Tailored policy responses are urgently needed that consider the vulnerable groups who are the most likely to be affected by the impacts of climate change, including flooding.
“Raising awareness of flooding and actions to be taken among landlords and tenants is also needed.”
Falkirk Council already has plans and significant measures in place to deal with flooding in the Bo’ness area, while West Lothian Council has been proactive in taking action to protect homes and businesses, and has invested millions of pounds in flood defences for Linlithgow.
A West Lothian Council spokesman said: “We are committed to working with SEPA, Scottish Water and the Scottish Government to better understand the issues concerning flood risk.”