Bid to increase reservoir safety

Flood protection for homes near reservoirs in Scotland is set to be bolstered, but home insurance companies may choose not to adjust premiums due to the "extremely low" risk of flooding.

The proposals have been set out by Scotland's environment minister Roseanna Cunningham, who downplayed the risk of flooding from a burst reservoir as "extremely low". Scotland has more than 1,000 reservoirs.

"The consequences of such an event may be devastating," said Ms Cunningham. "Where there is a risk, we need to ensure that the reservoirs are structurally sound, monitored and well maintained to make sure any risk is minimised.

"These proposals will result in some previously unregulated but higher risk reservoirs being brought under the regime, and this will provide people, property and our infrastructure with a greater level of protection."

The last loss of life from reservoir failure in Scotland was in 1925 when overtopping at Skelmorlie in Ayrshire resulted in five deaths. The most common causes of failure of embankment dams are by overtopping or internal erosion.

The Bill proposes that reservoirs near homes and infrastructure should be subject to a proportionate level of inspections to ensure that nearby residents are protected.

All reservoirs with a capacity of 10,000 cubic metres, equivalent to four Olympic-sized swimming pools, or more will need to be registered with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and categorised according to risk.

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