Flooding in Perth, Scotland Flooding in Perth, Scotland FloodSax alternative sandbags holding back a torrent of floodwater FloodSax alternative sandbags holding back a torrent of floodwater Floodsax in their dry state soaking up water inside a home to prevent thousands of pounds damage Floodsax in their dry state soaking up water inside a home to prevent thousands of pounds damage

Scotland breaks its own record for highest ever number of flood warnings with flooding an ever growing threat

Scotland has seen its highest ever number of flood warnings this winter with flooding described as “a growing threat” to the country.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued 720 alerts since September 1, 2023, the highest number since SEPA introduced its Floodline service in March 2011. The previous record of 714 was set over autumn and winter 2015/16. There are around 284,000 properties, businesses and services at risk of flooding in Scotland.

Business and home owners need to make sure they have their own flood protection in place as local councils have no responsibility to provide sandbags or other flood prevention measures.

SEPA states: “It is your responsibility to manage your own flood risk and protect yourself, your family, property or business.” 

SEPA is now urging as many people as possible to sign up to receive its free flood alerts and warnings following a year of storms and flooding with winter weather still carrying on.

SEPA is Scotland’s national flood forecasting and warning authority. Advance notice of flooding is provided using forecast weather information from the Met Office in combination with SEPA’s own rainfall and river level observations along with advanced hydrological modelling.

When flooding is anticipated SEPA sends out warnings via phone calls or text and October 2023 was a particularly bad month for storms, heavy rain and flooding.

SEPA flood warning unit manager Pascal Lardet said: “Scotland has witnessed several extreme weather events in recent months. In October we had two consecutive periods of intense and prolonged rainfall between October 6 and 9 and then Storm Babet between October 18 and 23. These events resulted in severe impacts with extensive flooding of communities, multiple property evacuations and impacts on infrastructures, particularly the overtopping of Brechin flood defences.

“Unsettled weather continued from November to February with a record number of named storms affecting the whole country.

“These events should be a wake-up call of things to come due to climate change in Scotland. Flooding remains a growing threat to our communities which is why it is vital that those who aren’t signed up to our free Floodline service should take action now and not wait until the next storm hits.

“Receiving our messages allows communities and businesses more time to prepare and act to reduce the risk of damage and disruption. This may involve deploying flood protection products, moving vehicles from at risk areas and changing travel plans.”

One of the most widely used anti-flooding products in Scotland are FloodSax alternative sandbags, now used as a more cost-effective and environmentally alternative to traditional sandbags.

One place to really benefit from them is the small Scottish town of Alyth which saw dozens of properties flooded and some businesses sadly shut for good after a massive flood in the summer of 2015. The east Perthshire town has a population of just 2,370 and many now have floodgates to protect their doors and a flood team set up in the town is also giving them FloodSax to be used inside to soak up any water that will inevitably still seep in.

The FloodSax have been bought by the Retained Alyth Flood Team funded by Alyth Development Trust following on from advice from the Scottish Flood Forum, a charity which advises on flood issues and supports a network of community resilience groups. Read more about this story by clicking here 

FloodSax can also be built into flood protection barriers – like sandbags but way better - and to do this immerse the FloodSax in water which it will absorb and retain, transforming it into an instant, robust, sandless sandbag. Around three million have been sold worldwide and they were devised by Environmental Defence Systems Ltd based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

SEPA is continuing to expand and improve Scotland’s flood warning service network and has recently added six local Flood Warning areas along the River Carron near Falkirk. Around 1,500 properties are at risk of flooding in these areas, which were identified in Scotland’s Flood Risk Management Plans as a priority.

Members of the public and businesses can sign up to Floodline free of charge online to receive messages directly to your phone, letting you know when the area where you live, work or travel through is at risk of flooding.

Follow @SEPAFlood on X for the latest updates including its three-day Scottish Flood Forecast or visit the SEPA website for a view of all the latest flood updates and further information.