SEPA launches coastal flood warning service

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has launched a new coastal flood warning service, funded by the Scottish Government, to provide local flood warnings to communities and businesses across the Western Isles.

Wednesday, 18th November 2020, 8:24 am
Bayhead - North Uist

The new service, developed in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, is locally focused and designed specifically for the most at risk areas across the islands.

It includes 24 Flood Warning Areas, 16 of which also provide notice of coastal flooding and disruption to roads and causeways. The Flood Warning Areas will cover 1000 properties directly at risk from coastal flooding and the residents of nearly 7000 homes and businesses who could be affected by flooding during their travel or other activity.

Lewis, Harris, Berneray, Benbecula, North and South Uist, Eriskay, Barra and Vatersay will benefit from the new service which aims to help safeguard communities most at risk from coastal flooding.

Islanders are being advised to sign up to SEPA’s Floodline service to receive these new local warnings in addition to receiving existing regional flood alerts – early advice that flooding whether from the sea, or from heavy rain or rivers is possible across the Western Isles. The new coastal flood warning service, supported by a new and dedicated forecasting model, will provide more locally specific shorter-range warnings on expected coastal flood impacts. People can sign up to receive one or more Flood Warnings, for example where they live, or along causeways they regularly cross.

Paul Copestake, Flood Advisor at SEPA, said: “With climate change expected to cause wetter winters, more intense rainfall in summer and sea level rise in Scotland, we are working in partnership with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar to strengthen our flood warning services across the islands.

“The island community is vulnerable to the impacts of coastal flooding, and our new coastal flood forecasting model gives us more information than ever before about the potential flood risk and impacts caused by high tides, tidal surges, and wave overtopping.

“By signing up to SEPA’s Floodline, residents will receive advance notice of where and when flooding is expected, enabling them to take action to prepare and ensure their safety.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We know the devastating impact that flooding can have on communities and livelihoods. Being prepared for any flood event is critical if we are to manage the risks and promote long term flood resilience.

Chair of Transportation and Infrastructure, Councillor Uisdean Robertson (inset) said: “Climate Change will likely increase the threat of coastal flooding in the Western Isles. With this in mind, it is vital that all those at potential risk of damage to homes and businesses can receive accessible and up to date flood alert information and advice. The safety of our communities and resilience of our economy must be protected against such environmental threats.”

Visit SEPA’s Floodline Scotland at https://www.floodlinescotland.org.uk/eileansiar or call on 0345 988 1188.