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Update on Flood Risk Management

Flooding 2
Like many other parts of the United Kingdom, West Lothian is experiencing the effects of a changing climate, one of the biggest contributors to increased future flooding.

As required by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009, West Lothian Council works together with its partners in the Forth Estuary Local Plan District (LPD) to manage flood risk in the council's area.

Cycle 2 (2022 to 2028)

Cycle 2 of the Flood Risk Management Plan for the Forth Estuary LPD was published by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in January 2022.  SEPA's Cycle 2 plan can be viewed at 'Cycle 2 SEPA Plan'. 

The Cycle 2 Flood Risk Management Plan is due to be published on 31 December 2022, by the Lead Local Authority for the LPD - Falkirk Council.

When published the Cycle 2 Local Plan will be available at 'Cycle 2 Local Plan'

Flood Risk Management Plans set out objectives and actions for managing flood risk in West Lothian's target areas in each Potentially Vulnerable Area (PVA).  A PVA is a catchment where the potential impacts of flooding justify further assessment.  West Lothian Council has four PVA's for Cycle 2:

PVA 2/10/12 - Linlithgow

PVA 2/10/13 - Livingston, Broxburn & Bathgate

PVA 2/10/14 - Whitburn (and Blackburn)

PVA 2/10/15 - West Calder & Fauldhouse

Within these PVA's the target areas (known as Objective Target Area's or OTA's) are communities at risk of flooding, which should benefit from actions to reduce flood risk.  Target areas include implementation information, proposed timescales, funding mechanisms and identify who is responsible for carrying out each action.  The 4 PVA's include the following 10 target areas for Cycle 2:








Livingston & Mid Calder                                                    

West Calder            


Public consultation of the draft Cycle 2 SEPA plan and the draft Cycle 2 Local Plan was carried out between December 2020 to October 2021.  A summary of the consultation responses was published by SEPA in March 2022, and can be accessed 'here'

Cycle 1 (2016 to 2022)

Cycle 1 of the Flood Risk Management Strategy (now known as the Cycle 1 SEPA Plan) for the Forth Estuary Local Plan District was published by SEPA in 2015.  The strategy can be viewed at 'Cycle 1 SEPA Plan'.

The Cycle 1 Local Flood Risk Management Plan was published in 2016 by Cycle 1 Lead Local Authority for the LPD - The City of Edinburgh Council.  The Cycle 1 Local Plan can be viewed at 'Cycle 1 Local Plan'.

For Cycle 1 West Lothian's flood risk priority areas (known as PVA's) included: Bathgate, Blackridge, Broxburn, Linlithgow, Livingston and Whitburn.

Falkirk Council took on the role of Lead Local Authority for the Forth Estuary LPD in 2016.  Falkirk Council published the 2019 Interim Cycle 1 Local Plan, which can be accessed at 'Interim C1 Local Plan'

The final Local Plan for Cycle 1 is due to be published on 31 December 2022.  When published the Plan will be available at 'Final Cycle 1 Local Plan'.

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, please refer to The Scottish Flood Forum - Supporting Flood Risk Communities an independent Scottish Charity that supports individuals and communities at risk of flooding, including the provision of immediate support in the event of flooding and flood resilience advice.

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 may be susceptible to flooding, we can supply sandbags to help protect property and reduce the effects of damage. It should be noted that when demand for sandbags is at its height the council will be unable to meet demand. In these circumstances, we will prioritise provision of sandbags to properties considered 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 are otherwise deemed at risk by the council.
  • 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   Flood Factsheet [260KB]  handy and follows the advice it gives. If you have been affected by flooding,  PH04 Clearing up after a flood [65KB]  gives advice on what to do once the water subsides.