Flood Risk Management in Scotland- 2018 Consultation on Potentially Vulnerable Areas

Closed 31 Jul 2018

Opened 1 May 2018

Feedback updated 20 Sep 2018

We asked

Flood Risk Management in Scotland: 2018 Consultation on Potentially Vulnerable Areas closed on 31 July 2018 following a three month public consultation. The consultation process forms part of the work to review and update the 2011 National Flood Risk Assessment, as required by the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009. Our understanding of flood risk is constantly improving and periodic reviews and updates are essential to ensure we can effectively support flood risk management in Scotland. The consultation provided an opportunity for members of the public and our partners to provide us with feedback on the proposed changes to Potentially Vulnerable Areas to make sure we have got it right. In addition to informing our view on Potentially Vulnerable Areas for 2021-2027, the consultation was also an important opportunity to gather views on the retention of Local Plan Districts and future consultation arrangements for flood risk management.

 A link to the Consultation Outcome Report can be found here: https://www.sepa.org.uk/media/375826/frm-in-scotland-pva-2018_consultation-outcome-report.pdf

You said

We received a good level of support for the National Flood Risk Assessment. The 2018 National Flood Risk Assessment has significantly improved upon the previous baseline of flood risk and represents the best understanding yet of flood risk in Scotland. This in no small part reflects the input from partners and the public to improve our underlying evidence.  

We received general agreement from respondents on our proposals for new Potentially Vulnerable Areas. Only 13% of respondents challenged areas we are proposing for designation. Similarly, only 14% of respondents requested additional locations to be identified as Potentially Vulnerable Areas.

We received good support for the retention of the 14 Local Plan Districts, as well as for the planned consultation arrangements for the period 2018-2021.

The public consultation also demonstrated that many people think flooding is a major climate change risk for Scotland.

A full analysis of the responses received can be found in the Consultation Outcome Report here: https://www.sepa.org.uk/media/375826/frm-in-scotland-pva-2018_consultation-outcome-report.pdf

We did

In taking account of the views received, SEPA has amended one of the Potentially Vulnerable Areas that we consulted on and identified two additional Potentially Vulnerable Areas. Our explanation for making these changes, and not making others that were requested via consultation, are explained in the Consultation Outcome Report, see link below.

In the consultation we proposed a minor Local Plan District boundary change, at Nairn, to better accommodate flood risk management in this area. Given the support we received, we intend to proceed with the 14 Local Plan Districts as proposed.

No changes have been made to the Statement on Consultation Arrangements.

A revised set of Potentially Vulnerable Areas have now been submitted to Scottish Ministers for approval.

Results updated 20 Sep 2018



Your views count – have your say on Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) for Flood Risk Management in Scotland.

The consultation runs from 1 May to 31 July 2018, and we’d like your views.

What are Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs)?

PVAs are where significant flood risk exists now or is likely to occur in the future. They are part of the National Flood Risk Assessment process, and help Scotland to understand and prioritise where work could benefit the most. They are a vital part of protecting people, properties, businesses, communities, infrastructure and our environment.

Since 2011, when PVAs were first identified, SEPA and our partners have been working hard to improve data and methods of flood risk assessment. As a result we now have new information. This has resulted in changes to the PVAs, which we want your opinion on, to check we’ve got it right.

For each PVA identified:

  • We will produce flood hazard and flood risk maps for the area;
  • We, in consultation, will set objectives and identify actions to address flood risk;
  • Local Flood Risk Management Plans will be produced by lead local authorities;
  • Scottish Water will undertake an assessment of the risk of flooding from the sewerage system.

Important information on PVAs

Not all parts of a PVA will be at risk of flooding. We use a catchment approach to set the boundaries. This means looking across whole river systems and coastal areas and using these natural boundaries.

There will be some people and places outside of proposed PVAs at risk of flooding. Not being included in a PVA does not mean that the risk of flooding is insignificant to the individual or that support will not be provided by flood risk authorities.

Scotland’s National Flood Risk Assessment (NFRA)

Scotland’s Potentially Vulnerable Areas are based on the NFRA, which is updated and published every six years. This provides a clear picture of past, current and future flood risk. It considers flooding from rivers, the sea and from surface water. SEPA will publish the second NFRA in December 2018. More information is available here: NFRA Methodology

Further information on some of the terms and processes used within the NFRA can be found in our Glossary  and FAQs.


Why your views matter

We want your views on the proposed PVAs and the consultation arrangements, which will inform the Flood Risk Management Strategies.

The consultation closes on 31 July 2018. We will publish a summary of responses through our website. SEPA will take account of views received and submit proposals to Scottish Ministers later this year. Scottish Ministers will formally designate PVAs which will be published in December 2018.

Start the online survey by clicking on the link below to:

  • View the PVAs and consultation questions
  • See more information on future consultation arrangements planned during the development of Flood Risk Management Strategies.

The online survey is best viewed on a desktop, laptop or larger tablet type devices. The online survey can be completed on a smart phone though the user experience may be below that experienced on a larger screen. For the best user experience please make sure your web browser is up to date.

Paper copies of the survey and supporting documentation can be seen and filled in at SEPA's Edinburgh, Euro-central and Aberdeen offices. If you would like to fill in a hard copy please get in touch with the SEPA Contact centre (SCC) on 03000 996699 to arrange an appointment.


What happens next

The consultation closes on 31 July 2018. We will publish a summary of responses through this e-consultation tool. SEPA will take account of views received and submit proposals to Scottish Ministers later this year. Scottish Ministers will formally designate PVAs which will be published in December 2018.


  • Local Authorities
  • Responsible Authorities
  • Landowners/ managers
  • Public
  • Developers
  • EA, SEPA and NRW Staff


  • Flood Risk Management Planning