Flood risk management

Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is designated as a responsible authority under the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 with associated duties to reduce overall flood risk.

FCS exercises flood risk-related functions through policy, regulation and grant support, while action on the National Forest Estate is directed by Forest Enterprise Scotland. The Implementing the Flood Risk Management Act briefing note (PDF 122KB) explains FCS’s duties and the role of FCS in implementing the Act.

Sustainable flood risk management requires the integration of traditional hard engineering with techniques that work with natural features and characteristics. These techniques are often referred to as Natural Flood Management (NFM).

NFM is a suite of features that seeks to store or slow down flood waters through measures such as the planting of woodlands, wetland creation, river restoration, or the creation of intertidal habitats. In addition to flooding benefits, NFM measures can also provide many additional benefits to biodiversity, water quality and recreation. This concept seeks to complement and go beyond a reliance on heavily engineered flood defence structures. The role of woodlands is recognised in SEPA’s Natural Flood Management Handbook.

Flood risk management is coordinated through a National flood management plan that sets the national direction and 14 regional strategies and action plans. Flood Risk Management Strategies were published by SEPA in January 2016 to coordinate efforts to tackle flooding in Scotland. They help to target investment and coordinate actions across public bodies. A strategy is available for each of the 14 Local Plan Districts in Scotland.

Local Flood Risk Management Plans will provide additional local detail on the funding and delivery timetable for actions during 2016-2021. These plans were published by SEPA at the end of June 2016.

Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans will be updated every six years.

FCS contributed to the development of the strategies and has a role to play in the delivery of the plans.