Committee visits to inform flood inquiry


During recent years, flooding has become a high profile cause for concern and the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Affairs and Environment Committee is conducting a major national inquiry into the extent of the problem and possible long-term solutions for tackling flood management.

As part of this inquiry committee members will visit two areas of Scotland to learn more about flood defences. Perthshire’s natural and man-made flood defences will come under scrutiny when the committee visits Perth and Gleneagles on Tuesday 27 November.

The visit will begin in Perth, where MSPs will learn about the River Tay flood warning system and see the Communications Centre operated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) – the hub of the Floodline system in Scotland.

They will also be shown the hard flood defences within the city, managed by Perth and Kinross Council.

In the afternoon, the MSPs will visit a demonstration site in Glen Devon, managed by the WWF Scotland. This site is the only one of its kind in the UK and uses the natural features of the land to achieve sustainable flood management.

Through the visit the committee seeks to contrast the potential of sustainable flood management with the more traditional concrete defences. The committee members will take the opportunity to talk to some of those directly involved in flood management, which will be beneficial to their inquiry.

Committee Convener, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, said:

"Flooding is a major concern for people across Scotland, and climate change is only going to make the problem worse. With this inquiry, we want to find out more about when and how flooding problems can arise, and what public agencies can do to respond effectively. We also want to consider how flooding can be managed in new ways.

"There is now widespread recognition that traditional hard defences cannot be a complete solution. Using the natural capacity of the landscape to absorb and slow the distribution of excess water may also minimise the impact of flooding in the future.”

A separate visit, involving three other committee members, will take place the same day in Glasgow and East Kilbride . This visit, hosted by SEPA and Glasgow City Council, is to find out about the River Clyde Flood Warning System, and the Glasgow Strategic Drainage Plan.

Background notes

The members attending the Perthshire visit will be:

  • Roseanna Cunningham (Convener) (SNP, Perth )
  • John Scott (Deputy Convener) (Conservative, Ayr )
  • Peter Peacock (Labour, Highlands and Islands )

The morning part of the visit will take place mostly at SEPA’s office in Perth (Whitefriars). Committee members will see the River Tay flood warning system and the SEPA Communications Centre – the hub of the Floodline system in Scotland.

This part of the visit will be hosted by Dr Chris Spray, Director of Environmental Science, and Dr Richard Brown, Head of Hydrology, SEPA.

The afternoon part of the visit will be hosted by WWF Scotland. Members will visit two parts of the Glen Devon site, a woodland upland site and a lowland farm site.

This part of the visit will be hosted by Mike Donaghy, Freshwater Policy Officer, WWF Scotland, and Dr Richard Johnson, a hydrologist who has worked in the Antarctic, Nepal, India and China.

The members attending the Glasgow and East Kilbride visit will be:

  • Jamie Hepburn
  • Des McNulty
  • Mike Rumbles

The morning part of the visit will take place in East Kilbride at the offices of SEPA.

The afternoon part of the visit will take place at Glasgow City Council offices where MSPs will receive a presentation on the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Plan. They will then tour various sites in the east end of Glasgow which have been affected by flooding.

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