SEPA’s flood messaging system will be extended to include several hazard warnings

Horses rescued from flooding under the Spey Bridge next to The Dell in Kingussie.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) is set to upgrade its Floodline messaging system and integrate further hazard notifications for communities and businesses across Scotland.

Since 2011, the Flood Alert Dissemination System has issued regional alerts and local alerts to areas at risk 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Anyone can sign up to receive flood warning via an automated text message or phone call for the area where they live, work or travel.

Work is now beginning to transform the system and improve the customer experience using advanced digital technology.

The new Flood and Future Incident Messaging Service (FFIMS) will involve an initial phase of developments over the next year, including dynamic and location-based alerts.

This means that notifications will be more targeted to users within a defined radius of flood risk areas.

Other digital communication options will be included, such as mobile alerts and email, to make it easier than ever to access local, live flood information.

A second phase of development will see localized three-day flood forecasts developed in addition to the national Scottish flood forecast, which is expected to go live within the next two months.

Resilient digital developments will be at the heart of FFIMS and will integrate with social media, Google and other web notification systems.

SEPA will also explore the integration of multiple hazards into the new system.

These include a water shortage alert service indicating where droughts are possible. This gives businesses time to plan water extraction ahead of time, protecting them and the environment.

BT, backed by HTK, won the contract to provide the new service for the next 12 years, delivering the digital innovations required.

The contract is also the first where providers are required to meet stretch targets in line with SEPA’s regeneration target.

During this decade, SEPA aims to reduce all of its emissions and impacts to zero or net zero, while taking actions that repair the environment.

Pascal Lardet, Head of SEPA’s Flood Unit, said: “SEPA has a central role to play in helping communities avoid flood risk where they can, adapt where they cannot. not and to act when they are warned of a flood.

“Developing a messaging system that is both resilient and innovative is key to ensuring that residents and businesses have the information that matters to them when it matters most.

“The science on climate change is clear that extreme weather events are likely to increase in the future.

“Floods are just one example of many that pose a real threat to people and property. The impacts can be devastating and that’s why it’s more important than ever to have a system like this. in place.”

Senga Thomson, BT’s public sector manager for Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working with SEPA on this project to modernize this important service.

“As climate change continues to affect our homes and businesses, it is essential that people can access accurate, real-time information about the risk of flooding in their area.

“BT already plays a unique role in keeping vital services connected, whatever the weather, including handling all 999 calls and supporting emergency services in Scotland.

“We are excited to be able to expand our role to help transform the Floodline service to fit the future.”

SEPA is Scotland’s national authority for flood forecasting, flood warning and strategic flood risk management.

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