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Flooding - Scotland taking right approach

February 7, 2004 12:00 AM

Welcoming the Scottish Executive's announcement of tightened restrictions on development in flood plains, Nora Radcliffe MSP, Scottish Liberal Democrat Environment Spokesperson, said pre-emptive action was the only way to minimise the risk of the misery of flooding.

In a statement, Mrs Radcliffe said:

"Flooding costs Scotland at least £20 million a year and the risk is rising due to climate change. However, flooding experts recognise that the approach taken in Scotland is better than that in the rest of the UK.

"In Scotland, benefits simply have to exceed the costs of construction of the flood defence scheme for it to be approved, whereas in England and Wales, the benefits must be 3-5 times greater than the cost.

"In the 40 years before devolution, only 60 flood defence schemes were approved while in 2001 alone, there were more than 60 new schemes approved and in the pipeline in Scotland.

"The insurance industry has welcomed the action taken in Scotland so far. I hope they will recognise that action to minimise the risk of flooding should benefit everyone through lower premiums.

"Flooding is a natural phenomenon but the cost and misery caused can be minimised. Planning restrictions on areas at risk are simply common sense."

The Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre report quoted Chief Executive at Esure Peter Graham:

"There has been an exceptional response to the problems of flooding in Scotland over the last five years. We believe that Scotland has in place many of the key elements that England and Wales are lacking in terms of planning and co-ordination. Now we are working to revise our risk-ratings across Scotland because of the speed with which the Scottish Executive and local authorities have acted to improve planning and defences.

"We congratulate the Scottish Executive and Flood Appraisal Groups on their excellent work and will be calling for Parliament in Whitehall to become similarly enlightened in the measures it adopts."