Update on Flood Risk Management

Like many other parts of the United Kingdom, West Lothian is experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Scotland is currently adopting a new approach to manage the risk of flooding


As part of the approach initiated by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 West Lothian Council has worked hard with its partners in the Forth Estuary Local Plan District (LPD) to produce a strategy and a plan to manage flood risk within the LPD for the first cycle - 2016 to 2021.

The strategy for the LPD was approved by Ministers and published by SEPA in Dec 2015 following public consultation. The strategy sets out objectives and actions to manage flood risk in the first FRM cycle 2016 to 2021.

The strategy can be viewed on the SEPA website - SEPA - Forth Estuary Local Plan District

Local Flood Risk Management Plan (LFRMP)

Since approval of the strategy the LPD partners have prepared a Local Flood Risk Management Plan (LFRMP) which sets out the timescale for actions, the funding mechanisms and who is responsible for carrying out the actions. The plan is now finalised and has been approved by all the LPD partners. The finalised plan was published by the Lead Authority for the LPD - City of Edinburgh Council - on 22 June to meet the requirements of the act.

The LFRMP has been approved by the Council prior to its publication and a copy of the finalised plan can be viewed via the following link - City of Edinburgh Council-Flooding.

In the plan for identified flood risk priority areas (known as potentially vulnerable areas or PVAs) there is a short description of the causes of flooding, the agreed objectives and the generic and specific actions to deliver these objectives in the first FRM cycle. West Lothian has approx. 1500 residential properties and 400 non-residential properties which are deemed at a potential risk of flooding and these are generally within 5 PVAs.

Please see the attached Briefing Note and Questions & Answer document which provide information on the publication of the Local Flood Risk Management Plans on 22 June 2016:

Strategy and Plan

In summary, West Lothian Council, along with its LPD Partners, will be looking to deliver the following specific and generic actions as set out in the strategy and plan -

  • Flood Protection Works / Scheme - one scheme has been identified in Broxburn.
  • Flood Protection Studies - - four studies have been identified for the first cycle.
  • Natural Flood Management Study - one joint study with Falkirk Council has been identified.
  • Surface Water Management Plan - four priority areas were identified for surface water management planning. The Council has completed the plan which sets objectives and possible actions for reducing and managing surface water flood risk in the priority areas.
  • Integrated Catchment Studies - two studies have been identified in the first cycle and will be jointly undertaken by the Council and Scottish Water. These are for Linlithgow and Bathgate catchments.
  • Sewer Catchment Assessments - Scottish Water has identified 8 catchments with the Council area where they will be carrying out sewer catchment assessments. These are required under section 16 of the act and will improve their knowledge and understanding of these catchments.

As well as the above specific actions, the Council will continue to deliver generic actions which include routine maintenance, maintenance of existing flood schemes, application of national and local planning policies, awareness raising, emergency response and others.

Who can help?

You may believe that preparing for a flood isn't something that you need to think about. Perhaps you live or work in an area that hasn't flooded before or your home or business is located on higher ground.

Don't forget, however, that roads leading to and from your home or workplace may get blocked by floodwater. Power and water supplies may be cut and drains may not work. Also, if and when you need help so will lots of other people. The resources of the local authority and emergency responders will be severely stretched.

You are the first line of defence against flooding. No one can stop flooding from happening, but good preparation can limit the devastating impact that flooding can have on your home or business. It is important to know what actions you can take to reduce the impact of flooding on yourself and your property. There are a range of flood protection products that can be fitted to your property to prevent water entering though doorways, solum vents, and up though the drain in ground floor sinks, baths, showers and toilets.

  • For more details of flood protection products, view the SEPA website.

How can West Lothian Council assist?

West Lothian Council's Flood Risk management team may also be able to assist in the following ways. You should be aware, however, that during periods of prolonged or heavy rainfall resources are at a stretch and our response needs to be prioritised to those in greatest need.

  • We assess watercourses, including culverted watercourses, on a prioritised basis to determine the need for maintenance to reduce the risk of flooding.
  • We inspect open watercourses and prioritise maintenance to any watercourse which is in a condition where deemed more likely to cause flooding in our communities.
  • We provide advice to the Council's Planning Services team on matters relating to flood risk management, sustainable drainage and the water environment
  • We investigate the cause of serious flooding and the feasibility of reducing the risk of re-occurrence, including, where appropriate, the possible promotion of a Flood Protection Scheme.
  • Where homes and businesses are susceptible to flooding, we can supply sandbags to help protect property and reduce the effects of damage. When demand for sandbags is at its height the council will be unable to meet demand. In these circumstances, we will prioritise the provision of sandbags to properties considered by officers at the greatest risk. Sandbags will not be provided to protect outbuildings or garden ground. Sandbags will not be uplifted when they are no longer required.
  • To reduce peak demand and enable householders to help themselves, the Council can supply an appropriate number of filled sandbags or ' Aquasacs ' on request and in advance to those householders that live in properties with a history of flooding or otherwise deemed by the council to be at risk.
  • We provide support to emergency responders and undertake work to lessen the effects of flooding.
  • In the aftermath of a significant flood we will co-ordinate clean-up operations in liaison with colleagues in other council services.

If you believe that your property may be at risk you should keep a copy of the Council's  Icon for pdf Flood Factsheet [260.4KB] handy and follows the advice it gives. If you have been affected by flooding, Icon for pdf PH04 Clearing up after a flood [65.21KB] gives advice on what to do once the water subsides.