We are slowly building up the evidence base on the question: ‘How can flood risk management at a national, local and community level take account of climate change impacts and manage them appropriately?’ Each [CXC] research project has been used in SG policy/strategy and also formed the basis for further work on details and implementation.

Scottish Government Flood Risk Management Team Member

  • CXC researchers, including fellow seconded into Scottish Government, contributed specialist skills in economics, modelling and mapping.
  • As well as with policymakers, CXC worked closely with multiple stakeholders, from affected property owners to local authorities and the Centre of Expertise on Waters (CREW).
  • Climate change now an integral part of government thinking around this policy area and a consideration in all flood risk management action.

Flooding is not a new issue for Scotland’s communities: flood risk management has been an important policy area for local and national government for decades. However, with climate change causing more frequent extreme weather, and rising sea levels and coastal erosion, the risk of coastal, river and surface water flooding are all increasing.

The challenge

How could flood risk management as an established policy area incorporate climate projections and develop adaptive plans that take account of increasing, yet uncertain, risks?

Through a series of projects and the secondment of a research fellow to the Scottish Government Flood Risk Management Team, ClimateXChange has built understanding of climate change impacts and projections across the flood risk management community.

Our research has examined a wide range of issues:

  • How to develop adaptive pathways in flood risk management
  • How to encourage property owners to increase their properties’ flood resilience
  • The impact incremental loss of flood plain can have on the increasing risk
  • How increased flood protection is funded and financed in other parts of the world which are comparable to Scotland
  • How to create shared-responsibility flood risk management scenarios that help secure investment and economic development

Specialist skills and dialogue

Across our projects it has been important that CXC research teams have been able to provide specialist skills in, for example, modelling, economics and mapping. These specialists have worked closely with multiple stakeholders involved in flood risk management, at national, local and community level, to frame and present the findings to a non-climate-specialist audience. This means our reports are useful and usable not only for Scottish Government policy-making, but also in local authorities, and for community groups and individual property owners managing local flood risk.

The [research fellow] secondment put through a couple of very useful projects and opened my eyes to a new type of research. It made me realise that this was where I should put more of my research energy when [CXC] can reach that sort of provider.

Scottish Government Flood Risk Management Team Member

Close working with the flood risk team in Scottish Government – and continuous conversations about policy challenges and research needs with stakeholders, including joined up working with the Centre of Expertise on Waters (CREW) – means climate change is now an integral part of government thinking around the policy area and a consideration in all flood risk management action.