The Natural Flood Management (NFM) Network Scotland, funded by the Scottish Government's Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (through Centre of Expertise for Waters and the Strategic Research Programme) was launched at an event organised by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Environment Agency and the Chartered Institute of Water and Environment Management.
The NFM website will provide a platform for sharing approaches, raising awareness and encouraging collaboration. It is hoped that access to this resource will create an invaluable tool for those tasked with delivering a sustainable approach to flood risk management in Scotland. Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Having visited flood protection projects across Scotland, I have seen the benefits of working with nature to reduce flood risk.
“The Scottish Government is committing £42 million annually to protect homes in many of our most flood-prone areas. To fully capitalise on this, it is essential that we share our excellent practical and scientific skills, and this new network will help ensure that natural flood management actions are successfully delivered across Scotland.”
Scotland has long been seen as leading the way in the implementation of the Floods Directive, particularly with respect to NFM. Throughout the country, there are a large number of studies already taking place to deliver NFM and many more planned under Local Flood Risk Management plans. Therefore, there is a need to make sure knowledge is shared to aid co-ordination.
SEPA Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn, added: “SEPA works every day to help Scotland be better prepared for future increased flooding. A vital part of that is working with our partners to identify how we can better manage flood risk, and the new NFM Network Scotland portal will be of great benefit to our staff in their roles.
“Natural Flood Management means working more with nature to reduce flood risk, but it also provides an opportunity to improve natural habitats for wildlife and increase community amenity. It is a great real-world example of taking an environmental threat, in this case flooding, and using it as an opportunity to provide mutual benefits for local communities, the environment and the economy.”
Launching this website is a step forward in ensuring best practice is shared and will ultimately help deliver the Flood Risk Management (FRM) Act cementing Scotland’s position as a leader in the delivery of catchment and coastal based approaches to FRM.
Dr Mark Wilkinson, project lead from the James Hutton Institute, commented: “The network is the product of a desire amongst people working with NFM in Scotland to share knowledge and best practice more efficiently and effectively.
“After following a simple registration process, the web platform allows users to add their own news, events, resources and case study contributions. Users also have the opportunity to connect with others involved in similar projects, research or activities.”