The first heavy snow of the winter is expected to hit Scotland and northern England this weekend … and a Government agency has issued a stark warning to business and home owners.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency which is responsible for flood warnings in Scotland says business and home owners are responsible for their own flood protection.

The SEPA website states: “There is no requirement for local authorities to provide flood protection products like sandbags. It is your responsibility to manage your own flood risk and protect yourself, your family, property and business.”

Its website (https://www.sepa.org.uk) has a Floodline section which people can sign up to so their receive messages letting them know where and when flooding is likely to happen.

The managing director of a company which has sold 2.5 million ‘sandless sandbags’ worldwide says many people wrongly believe that local authorities will provide sandbags when flooding strikes.

Richard Bailey from FloodSax based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, said: “This is simply not the case and it is down to individuals – especially those in areas vulnerable to flooding – to ensure they are prepared 24/7 against the risk.”

FloodSax is just one of many anti-flooding devices on the market which people can check out on the National Flood Forum website’s directory called Blue Pages http://bluepages.org.uk/

The National Flood Forum is a charity which helps and supports people at risk of flooding.

A yellow weather warning for ice and snow has been issued by the Met Office for large parts of Scotland and northern England through Saturday and Sunday with strong winds and heavy rain expected across other parts of the country. A yellow warning means severe weather is possible over the next few days and could affect people so they should plan ahead, thinking about possible travel delays or the disruption day-to-day activities.

Chief Meteorologist Steve Willington said: “This weekend’s weather brings a range of winter hazards with the possibility of heavy snow and blizzards in parts of Scotland and freezing rain for northern parts of the UK.  As such, there is the potential for disruption to travel on the roads and possible delays or cancellations to public transport services.

“At the moment, the heaviest snow is expected over higher ground in Scotland with the chance of drifting snow due to strong winds.  Snow is also expected to settle at lower levels in Scotland and parts of northern England with the risk of freezing rain and ice on Saturday night.”