2200 homes at risk of flooding as sea levels rise

Sea levels are set to rise in future. Picture: Julie Bull
Sea levels are set to rise in future. Picture: Julie Bull
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SEA levels along the Lothian coast are set to rise by almost half a metre by 2080, putting more than 2000 homes at risk.

An official flood risk assessment by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said the revised prediction on rising sea levels for the coast between South Queensferry and North Berwick would increase the number of homes at risk of coastal flooding from the current estimate of 480 to 2200.

The Sepa report said Musselburgh was the place likely to be hardest hit by floods, with a total of 2085 residential and commercial properties within the flood warning target areas.

But Sepa came under fire for its poor geography when Musselburgh was labelled Tranent on the map.

And the agency was also criticised for not including North Berwick in a list of six Potentially Vulnerable Areas (PVAs) – despite the entire harbour wall being knocked down in storms less than two years ago.

Independent councillor David Berry said: “North Berwick has been hit harder than other places in East Lothian.

“We have had an entire harbour wall fall into the sea, yachts damaged. These are real incidents, not speculation.”

He also voiced concerns about the risk associated with North Berwick sewage works in the event of a flood.

He said: “The sewage works serves 15,000 people. I hope Sepa take that on board before something serious and disturbing happens in the community of North Berwick.”

East Lothian SNP group leader said PVAs were defined as places where there was a likelihood of flooding every 200 years, yet East Lothian had seen four significant incidents in the past four years.

And he called for cross-party co-operation to press the Scottish Government for help to ensure the necessary work was carried out.

He said: “There has to be a ten-year plan we can get together and put before the government to say ‘This is what we will do, what are you going to do?’

“This is an issue which will go beyond this administration and the next and a cross-party approach should be taken.”

Council leader Willie Innes said there were a lot of issues in play and agreed the authority should approach the government.

Coastal flooding is estimated to cause £5 million of damage a year in the Forth estuary.

A Sepa spokesman said the report on flooding risk in East Lothian was at an early stage of development.

He said: “Ongoing engagement between Sepa and each local authority will be taking place to ensure that the information contained within each report is as accurate as possible before they are published.”