Flood risk and the Water of Leith

Posted to the Friends of the Water of Leith Facebook page.

SEPA, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, classified the Water of Leith basins as a flood risk in 2016, echoing its comment that “Edinburgh has a long history of flooding from the Water of Leith”. This is affecting residents, who report having difficulty finding affordable, if any, flood insurance for property and goods.

Before Forth Ports installed a shipping lock in the late 1960’s, the basins had a depth of 20’ – 30’, reduced now in some places to a few inches. A 2004 “Leith Dock Study” for the City of Edinburgh Council by ArupWater, noted that “Siltation could result in an increase in flood risk to the downstream reaches of the river. To ensure that flood risk is not increased it is therefore recommended that siltation of this reach of the river be monitored and any excessive (> 250mm) accumulations of silt should be removed”, and that in the event of failure of Forth Ports flood control measures that “…Forth Ports should insure themselves against this eventuality, since they would remain liable for flooding from the dock and over affected reaches of the Water of Leith” – unless the cause was a massive tide.

FOWLB recommends residents check their insurance policies, flood insurance availability and excess costs. SEPA’s flood risk classification, unaccountability and a lack of action over increasing siltation, and uncertainty over whether Forth Ports has insured themselves against potential flooding caused by engineering failures, leaves many in the EH6 postcode and beyond financially vulnerable.

We would again encourage all interested to repost this message, write and call councillors and ask for clarification and action.

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