SNP Government investment in flood barriers has paid off as NO properties are flooded

Reporting Scotland have been everywhere looking for flooded properties and perhaps lives endangered as the Met Office issued an Amber Alert.

So, far nothing beyond wet road surfaces and a few abandoned cars but they haven’t given up.

in 2016, as major flooding of homes in England was desperately linked by ‘our’ media to a few cases in Scotland and supposed SNP failures.

Why are homes not flooding 40-50mm of rain in 24 hours?

As far back as 2006, researchers at the English College of Estates Management, whose patron was HRH Prince of Wales, made a number of highly encouraging comments about the achievements of the Labour-run Scottish Executive, SEPA and the Local Authorities:

As far as flood protection is concerned, unlike in England, the 1 in 200-year standard of protection is ‘universal’ for all new buildings, with a 1,000-year standard for such vulnerable uses as old people’s homes, schools, hospitals etc. In addition, construction in flood hazard areas has almost completely ended. Crichton (2003: 26) estimates that “the active flood management programme currently in progress will result in almost all high-risk properties being protected against the 200-year flood within the next three years, taking climate change into account.” It is also interesting to note that the Scottish Executive grants for flood defences have never been refused on the grounds of budget restraints and there is no rationing of flood defence spending.

It is clear, however, that the more stringent building standards which are applied in Scotland ensure that severe storms result in much less property damage than comparable events in England. Also, the level of flood protection and the commitment of funding to achieve flood protection are higher in Scotland than in England.’

College of Estates Management at: https://www.cem.ac.uk/media/28193/flooding.pdf

More recently, with SNP leadership, the favourable comparison still seems to hold. Published research from the esteemed Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in 2012, seems to support my first impressions quite strongly:

‘Where English planning regulations permit building in flood plains where there is no alternative, Scottish Planning Policy does not permit building in areas in which ‘the flood risk exceeds the 200-year return period’, i.e. where in any year there is a greater than 0.5 per cent probability of flooding. Scotland has stronger regulations governing the capacity of sewage and drainage systems for new building. It also has stronger minimum standards for flood defences. Building regulations ensuring flood resilience in the housing stock are more developed. Scottish planners, through Flood Liaison and Advice Groups, are engaged with local communities, the emergency services, insurers and other interested parties in drawing up flood plans. The differences in regulatory regimes between England and Scotland are reflected in the number of households that are at risk of flooding, and the resilience of communities in responding to those risks.’

The level of investment will be one factor in these differences. In recent years, spending in England and Wales has declined seriously after significant increases under Labour in 1997 to 2010, as revealed in a UK Parliament Briefing Paper from 2015:

‘Central Government spending on flood defence in 2010-11 was cut soon after the Coalition Government was formed. Spending was reduced in one year by £30 million or 5%. In the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review (2011-12 to 2014-15), a total of £2.17 billion in central government funding was provided for flood and coastal defence. This represented “a six percent fall in central government funding”, The Committee on Climate Change calculated that this represented a real term cut of around 20% compared to the previous spending period.’

In sharp contrast, for Scotland, we see in a Scottish Parliament Committee Paper for 2014-2015, evidence of increasing investment:

‘With regard to flood protection and alleviation, the Committee welcomes the cash terms increases in the funding available to SEPA, and to the Natural Assets and Flooding  budget, both of which sit in the RAE portfolio. The Committee believes that, due to climate change, severe weather events will become increasingly likely in Scotland in years to come, and it is therefore essential that flood forecasting and warning systems be as accurate and robust as possible. The Committee welcomes the increased funding for flood forecasting and warning in the RAE portfolio and recommends that the Scottish Government continue to ensure sufficient funding is available to improve flood forecasting and warning systems, to ensure greater consistency across the whole of Scotland.’

As for more recent evidence of superiority in the Scottish system, see this at the Scottish government site and little (surprise, surprise) MSM coverage of it at the time:

‘£42 million a year plan over the next decade.

More than 10,000 families are to benefit from a ten year strategy to protect homes in many of Scotland’s most flood-prone communities. The plan is the result of grant funding totalling £420 million and follows an agreement reached between the Scottish Government and COSLA. The cash will be used to deliver 40 new flood protection projects and support local flood risk management plans. More than 130 flood protection studies will be carried out to help find potential solutions for another 26,000 residential properties currently at risk. The announcement came as the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, fulfilled her pledge to return to Newton Stewart following an earlier visit in the aftermath of flooding at Hogmanay.’

So, unlike the UK Government, the Scottish Government has maintained or bettered the investment and the sophistication in flood prevention here. Had I been writing in 2006, the Labour-controlled Scottish Executive would have rightly claimed any credit for performance north of the border. In 2016, the SNP-controlled Scottish Parliament can do the same. Will BBC Scotland allow them to do it? They clearly didn’t in the run-up to General Election in 2016 so I doubt it.

There you have it, my attempt to shore up our defence plans against a flood of BBC bias (See what I did there, again, again?) as we approach the UK Monsoon season.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-37306094

http://news.sky.com/story/16312m-flood-defence-plan-an-elastoplast-say-victims-10569571

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Environment/Water/Flooding

College of Estates Management at:https://www.cem.ac.uk/media/28193/flooding.pdf

UK Parliament Briefing Paper at: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:tGK3kUO-iKEJ:www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn05755.pdf+&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

Scottish Parliament Paper at:http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/70875.aspx

Scottish Act on Control of Flood water at:http://www.gov.scot/Resource/Doc/1057/0094052.pdf

WWF Report at: http://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/floodplanner_web.pdf

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18 thoughts on “SNP Government investment in flood barriers has paid off as NO properties are flooded

    1. It was a racing certainty that BBC Scotland would head to the Whitesands area of Dumfries town. As far back as I can remember it was one of the most flood-prone urban locations in Scotland.

      It would be interesting to find the reason why housing and retail properties were built so close to the River Nith in a location which was obviously part of the flood plain.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. And the area around Dumfries is historically Tory-voting – the Gauleiter Herr Alistair Jack is the heid bummer in these parts.

        The houses of the serfs should be subject to flooding from time to time so that they never feel secure and the toffs can throw them a few scraps from time to time to show that they ‘care’, but a tugged forelock in recognition is mandatory.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Another great article John, thanks. I remember years ago some very bad flooding in our part of Edinburgh, houses right by the river were badly affected. It cost a ton to put in flood defences, Labour would have been in charge then, no credit to them however, it must have affected some well off new town folk! I was a few years ago on the board of a local disability charity when the chair, who was a judge, said that many years ago there was terrible flooding in Edinburgh and old folks were stuck in an old folks home it was that bad. Being at the foot of the hill doesn’t help.

    I suspect in England, with privatised sewage releasing water companies, that any flooding would be a health risk as well. They better hope England doesn’t get too much rain this winter.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Part of the reason for the bad flooding in Edinburgh a few tears ago was that the Council had no route to Forth Ports, so FPs did not know that the dock gates needed to be opened to allow the flood water level to drop. Coincidentally there was also a very high tide at the same time making the situation worse. CEC and FPs now communicate to make sure the level in the docks is kept low when there is a flood risk/high tide.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not about to get into the politics of Dumfries but I can tell you a little of it’s Hydraulics.
    One with which you’ll be well acquainted with the exact same problem is Perth, lesser known perhaps is Kilkenny in Ireland, the common problem is downstream discharge against a tidal stream essentially flowing in the opposite direction, think of a tsunami when one meets the other, NO EXIT. Where does it go ?

    Billions were spent in Ireland and Scotland simply because landowners upstream who had turned previously known floodplains into productive land were not about to see their investment wasted for tops 5 out of 365 days.
    It’s actually very simple to solve, throttle the flow so the flooding occurs in contained spaces, THEIR SPACES – Then you deal with the farmer/landowner to convince the dead cows/sheep can be avoided by allowing the animals to move uphill, viz shift fences.
    Compensation ? F-off, that’s history for you….

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Quite simply they couldn’t coax me out of retirement – I’d had quite enough trying to convince complete arseholes of something they bluntly didn’t want to hear.
        D&G will doubtless have had similar reports on their backburner for the last several decades, from the earlier Iain Lang (GERS) period to the later Alister Jack (Erse), it was always about protecting their own little little fiefdoms,.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Aha so the same basic reasons that effect the rest of us rebellious retirees.
          Contrary to the popular retort “they can actually afford us” but,
          they most definitely do not want to hear the answer.
          So studiously avoid asking the question.
          Unfortunately for them the knowledge and intelligent thought still exists.
          And because we are careful to not publicly comment on companies we were previously associated with.
          Much to their annoyance, we cannot be labelled “disgruntled ex-employee” best ignored.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. The previous contacts “they” quite obviously failed the basic Lyndon B Johnson test, because we are now free to piss all over they and their pal’s tents.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. In my line of work it wasn’t an Employer issue so much as politicians or civil servants coming up with solutions which you knew was a waste of money and effort.
            Conversely those same forces can block a solution, the second Forth bridge crossing one glaring example of political mendacity, the recently announced grid upgrades another.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Sorry if I was a bit clumsy in my support of your addition to the line.
              In the current blog and others. BTL comments I have not yet had a “previous employer issue” either.
              My intent was simply to show that like you there are others who’s principals and ethics cannot be bought.
              And whether it is the board, civil service, or politicians.
              There will always be answers they do not want to hear, so studiously avoid the pertinent question.
              Whether it is the right one or not economically or in the long term does not matter. It does not suit their ends to be asking it.
              They march to the tune of a different drummer.
              And our intellectual capacity or the application of Occam’s razor, does not diminish outside of our primary field of expertise.

              Liked by 2 people

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