Revealed: The spiralling cost of flood defences

flood defenceBy Paul Dobson in The Ferret

Twenty-eight ‘vital’ Scottish flood defence schemes are now expected to cost nearly one billion pounds – three times more than was first estimated in 2016.

Analysis by The Ferret has found that the schemes will cost a combined £985 million while providing just under 13,000 properties with protection from flooding.

This means that, across Scotland, the average cost of defending just one property under the schemes will be in excess of £76,000.

The schemes – which are designed by councils such as West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute, but mostly funded by the Scottish Government – are all behind schedule and were due to be delivered by 2021.

Opposition politicians said the “staggering” figures showed the Scottish SNP Government is “casual and incompetent” with taxpayers’ money, and claimed its flood protection plan was “little more than a damp squib”.

The SNP’s coalition partners, the Scottish Greens, argued that nature-based approaches to flooding – like tree planting and the re-meandering of rivers – should be adopted to help reduce costs.

The Scottish Government claimed that the “scope” of many flood schemes had changed during the development phase, causing costs to increase.

A spokesperson also blamed “unavoidable inflationary pressures” for the rises and noted that flood schemes are developed and delivered by local councils.

Flooding in West Dunbartonshire and on the River Endrick at Drymen.

Twenty-eight ‘vital’ Scottish flood defence schemes are now expected to cost nearly one billion pounds – three times more than was first estimated in 2016.

Analysis by The Ferret has found that the schemes will cost a combined £985 million while providing just under 13,000 properties with protection from flooding.

This means that, across Scotland, the average cost of defending just one property under the schemes will be in excess of £76,000.

The schemes – which are designed by councils but mostly funded by the Scottish Government – are all behind schedule and were due to be delivered by 2021.

Currently, 284,000 homes and premises around the country are considered to be at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. It is estimated that floods cause up to £250m worth of damage each year across the country.

In 2016-17, local authorities forecast that it would cost a combined £337 million to build the flood schemes.

The figures were revealed in response to a parliamentary question by the Scottish Liberal Democrat MSP, Liam McArthur, pictured right.

Currently, 284,000 homes and premises around the country are considered to be at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea. It is estimated that floods cause up to £250 million worth of damage each year across the country.

Climate change is also expected to increase the severity and frequency of floods, potentially threatening a further 110,000 Scottish properties by 2080.

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