Legislative Framework

The implementation of flood alleviation works is controlled through various pieces of legislation. This page describes the primary legislation which all local authorities are required to comply with.

The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act, 2009

The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent on 16 June 2009. The Act will introduce a more sustainable approach to flood risk management, taking into account the impact of climate change. Specific measures within the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009 include:

  • A framework for coordination and cooperation between all organisations involved in flood risk management;
  • Assessment of flood risk and preparation of flood risk management plans;
  • New responsibilities for SEPA, Scottish Water and local authorities in relation to flood risk management;
  • A revised, streamlined process for flood protection schemes;
  • New methods to enable stakeholders and the public to contribute to managing flood risk, and;
  • A single enforcement authority for the safe operation of Scotland's reservoirs.

  • For more information, please visit the Scottish Government's website at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/Water/Flooding/FRMAct.

    The Act will be commenced in stages. Current flooding legislation will remain in place until Section 70 of the Act repeals the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act 1961.

    The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) Regulations, 2005 (CAR)

    The CAR regulations were passed by the Scottish Parliament on 2 June 2005 and came into force on 1 April 2006. Existing authorisations came under the new regime with effect from 1 October 2005.

    These regulations bring into effect the requirements of section 20 of the WEWS Act for control over the following activities:

  • Activities liable to cause pollution of the water environment;
  • Abstraction of water from the water environment;
  • The construction, alteration or operating of impounding works in surface waters or wetlands;
  • Carrying out building, engineering or other works: in inland water other than groundwater, or wetlands; or in the vicinity of inland water or wetlands, and likely to have a significant adverse effect on the water environment.
  • Artificial recharge or augmentation of groundwater

    Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act, 1961

    Under this Act, Councils were charged with the implementation of the Flood Prevention (Scotland) Act 1961. This Act gave the local authority the power to carry out measures for the prevention or mitigation of flooding of non-agricultural land including:

  • cleansing any watercourse or embankment
  • repairing any watercourse or embankment
  • maintenance of any watercourse or embankment
  • These powers are permissive and discretionary only, i.e. the authority may exercise the powers but does not have to.

    No work other than maintenance can be carried out under the Act without the promotion of a flood prevention scheme by the local authority. Flood prevention schemes are confirmed by Scottish Ministers. This Act will eventually be replaced by The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act, 2009.