Loch Lomond from Duncryne Hill. FreeImages.com/Bryan Weir
RPS' Belfast office was commissioned by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) as the lead consultant to prepare a Flood Risk Management Strategy for the South West region of Scotland. The Strategy was required by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 to enable the Scottish Government to quantify and prioritise expenditure in flood risk management over the first two cycles of the Floods Directive.
The strategy also provided the baseline information required to inform Local Flood Risk Management Plans, which are currently being taken forward by the Local Authorities. This was the first time a national approach had been taken to flood risk management in Scotland, which meant a consistent and robust quantification and characterisation of flood risk had to be established across the country.
The South West region incorporates three Local Plan Districts, being LPD11 – Clyde and Loch Lomond, LPD12 – Ayrshire and LPD14 – Solway.
RPS was responsible for the development and assessment, at a strategic level, of a wide range of flood risk management measures that have the potential to eliminate or reduce the risk of surface water, river and coastal flooding within 66 areas of significant risk, known as potentially vulnerable areas (PVAs), in the South West region of Scotland.
High water levels at a beech wood in Scotland. FreeImages.com/ B Cleary
The objectives of the project can be broadly summarised as:
To Characterise and quantify the flood risk to all property, assets and key infrastructure in 66 PVAs.
To develop Objectives for flood risk management in the PVAs.
To Short List Actions that would reduce or eliminate flood risk in the PVAs.
To provide a quantitative and qualitative pre-feasibility appraisal of these short listed actions, to assess their applicability to these specific PVAs.
To provide a clear output of the Selected Actions for the Local Authorities to implement in the local Flood Risk Management Plan during the first and/or future cycles of the floods directive.
The project was broken into a series of work packages and deliverables that were completed by RPS in partnership with 14 Local Authorities (LAs) and key stakeholders, including Scottish Water, Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park and the Forestry Commission Scotland.
Throughout the project RPS invested significant time and resources in communication and stakeholder engagement at all levels from statutory meetings to one to one workshops. RPS combined the strategic modelling output combined with local detailed knowledge of the stakeholders to ensure that the proposed strategic measures would be effective, financially viable, spatially correct and socially and environmentally acceptable. In return the strategic approach taken by this process provided the LAs with a strategic overview of the existing flood risk and clear direction on how to prioritise their capital expenditure over the next few cycles of the floods directive.
The project commenced in June 2013 and was successfully completed in June 2015.