Long-lasting impacts of flooding highlighted in report

A new report by researchers from the James Hutton Institute has highlighted the profound and long-lasting impacts of flooding on individuals, businesses and communities in Scotland.

Based at the University of Aberdeen, the researchers spoke to people living in communities that had been severely affected by flooding in North East Scotland during the winter of 2015-2016. Over the three following years, the study detailed the impact of flooding on individuals and communities in Ballater and Garioch finding that the impacts of the flooding surpassed the immediate financial and physical damage experienced in the immediate aftermath of the floods.

Among the responses recorded were negative impacts months and even years after the flood, as well as mental health impacts.

The report highlights the importance of clear communication before, during and after episodes of flooding, recommending that flood alerts and warnings should use accessible language to help ensure that appropriate action is taken by members of the public. It also highlights the importance of using a variety of methods to communicate information, including traditional media, social media and other online channels.

James Hutton Institute also provides recommendations designed to enhance measures for flood risk management and personal and community resilience. The new guidance includes advice on having a household emergency plan that clearly sets out what actions should be taken in the event of serious flooding, what belongings to take and how to evacuate; considering options for making property more flood-resistant and resilient; ensuring  adequate insurance cover is in place; and registering with SEPA’s Floodline service.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham, said: “I have seen for myself the immediate impact flooding has but this study helps us better understand how devastating flooding is for businesses, families and communities alike. This is why the Scottish Government has supported the Scottish Flood Forum since 2008. This year, we have made £190,000 available to the Forum to help communities prepare for and recover from flooding. I am grateful to the residents of Ballater and Garioch who gave their time to speak to the researchers about their personal experiences, and look forward to the findings from this study to help build on our resilience and minimise the impact of flooding across the country.”