Vulnerable 
areas

The Leet Water at Coldstream submerges the Irish Bridge and starts to make its way along Duke Street
The Leet Water at Coldstream submerges the Irish Bridge and starts to make its way along Duke Street

The Berwickshire coast is classed as a ‘potentially vulnerable area’ within the Forth Estuary flood risk plan, Coldstream and Preston getting similar classification in the Tweed local plan.

Flood risk plans across Scotland are currently being drawn up and will go out for public consultation towards the end of the year. The country is divided into 14 districts and each district will have two plans: a management strategy plan drawn up by Scottish Environment Protection Agency; the other a local flood risk management plan produced by the local authority.

A report to councillors this week explains: “A public consultation will take place from December 22, 2014 to June 2, 2015. This will provide an opportunity for members of the public and stakeholder organisations to comment on the information that will be included in the Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plan and will ultimately shape the actions that will be taken to manage flood risk.

“The public consultation is based on potentially vulnerable areas which are areas where there is significant flood risk, sufficient to justify further assessment and appraisal of flood management actions.”

Once the finalised flood risk management plans are in place they will be used for long term flood protection planning, ensuring that funding is invested in areas where there is the greatest risk of flooding and where communities can receive the greatest benefit.

Scottish Borders Council is the lead partner for the Tweed Local Plan District where there are 13 ‘potentially vulnerable areas’ including Coldstream and Preston.

New, more accurate flood maps for Scotland were drawn up last year, however, and the information from them suggests that the flood risk at both Coldstream and Preston is not as high as it was thought to be using SEPA’s old flood map data.

Last year SEPA set up its coastal flood warning service for people living and working in the 28 coastal areas. Those who could be affected by coastal flooding can sign up and receive advance coastal flood warnings direct to their phone 24 hours a day which should buy them valuable time to protect families, homes and businesses.

At the time Jim Fraser, emergency planning officer at Scottish Borders Council, added: “This new flood warning service will be of great benefit to people living in the Berwickshire coastal communities.”

And in December last year the warning system came into its own - when a tidal surge caused Eyemouth harbour to flood, the worst in 105 years, water seeping into the ground floor of some premises along Harbour Road.

At todays (Thursdays) Scottish Borders Council meeting, councillors will be asked to approve the draft Flood Risk Management Strategies.

The first phase of the flood risk management strategy to be made public in December this year will include descriptions of the flood risk for all potentially vulnerable areas. Then in March 2015 SEPA will publish the second phase outlining the measure it will take to combat the risks in these areas.