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  • Responsibilities for flooding

Responsibilities for flooding

You are the first line of defence against flooding. Public bodies have responsibilities too and together we are working towards reducing the overall impacts of flooding in Scotland.

Your responsibilities

It is your responsibility to manage your own flood risk and protect yourself, your family, property or business. There are steps you can take now to be flood prepared and reduce the damage and disruption flooding can have on your life:

  1. View our flood maps to check if your area is affected by flooding
  2. Sign up to Floodline to receive messages when flooding is forecast in your area
  3. Know who to contact if flooding happens


SEPA is Scotland’s national flood forecasting, flood warning authority and strategic flood risk management authority.

We work in partnership with the Met Office to forecast for flooding and operate Floodline in Scotland to warn the public and emergency responders when flooding is likely;

  • We produce Scotland's Flood Risk Management Strategies;
  • We work closely with other organisations responsible for managing flood risk to ensure that a nationally consistent approach to flood risk management is adopted;
  • We provide flood risk advice to land use planning in Scotland when requested;
  • We raise awareness of flooding at a national level through education initiatives, community engagement and campaigns.

Local authorities

Local authorities are responsible for producing Scotland’s first Local Flood Risk Management Plans and work in partnership with SEPA, Scottish Water and other responsible authorities to develop these.

It is the responsibility of your local authority to implement and maintain flood protection actions. Local authorities also inspect, clear and repair watercourses to reduce flood risk and routinely maintain road gullies on public roads and highways.

During severe flooding, local authorities will work with the emergency services and co-ordinate shelter for people evacuated from their homes.

Scottish Water

Scottish Water is responsible for the drainage of surface water from roofs and paved ground surfaces within a property boundary. Scottish Water can help to protect properties from flooding caused by overflowing or blocked sewers.

Scottish Water is a responsible authority for flood risk management and is working closely with SEPA, local authorities and other responsible authorities to manage flood risk in Scotland.

Scottish Government

Scottish Government oversees the implementation of the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 which established the requirement for Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans to be produced.

Scottish Ministers are responsible for setting the policy framework for implementing how we manage flooding in Scotland and will ultimately be responsible for approving the objectives and actions set out in the Flood Risk Management Strategies.

Met Office

The Met Office provides a wide range of forecasts and weather warnings. SEPA and the Met Office work together through the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, combining SEPA's hydrological expertise and the Met Office's meteorological data to predict the likelihood and timing of river, coastal and surface water flooding.

Other agencies

National Park Authorities

The National Park Authorities in Scotland, Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park and Cairngorms National Park, work with SEPA and other responsible authorities on the develop Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans. They also play an important role in land use planning, carrying out and permitting activities that can help manage and reduce flood risk.

Forestry and Land Scotland

Forestry and Land Scotland (formerly Forestry Commission Scotland) also supports the development of the Flood Risk Management Strategies and Local Flood Risk Management Plans.

Emergency services

The emergency services provide emergency relief when flooding occurs and can co-ordinate evacuations.

You should call the emergency services on 999 if you are concerned about your safety or the safety of others and act immediately on any advice provided.