Skip to content


Quantifying rates of urban creep in Scotland

Urban rain puddle

Various studies have shown that land cover in urban areas tends to become more impermeable (e.g. front gardens are paved over) over time; this is often referred to as urban creep. Urban creep is likely to be a significant factor in surface water flood risk in the future. In order to manage flood risk sustainably now and in the future, we need to be able to quantify the rates of urban creep. Various studies have been carried out in the UK in relation to observed rates of urban creep, although few of these were undertaken in Scotland.

Once a method has been developed to measure urban creep in Scotland, this information will be used by SEPA to help inform projections of future flood risk. This information may also inform decisions about mitigation measures to combat increased flood risk.

Project Objectives

  1. Perform a literature review of urban creep assessment techniques
  2. Develop a detailed methodology for quantifying urban creep in Scotland. This methodology needs to be reproducible for use in future surveys. The method should consider what data sets are needed, the small scale of the observations (e.g., individual front gardens), and the time scales of studies.
  3. Perform the study to quantify urban creep in an agreed case study area in Scotland