The impacts of flooding experienced by individuals, communities and businesses can be devastating and long lasting. It is vital that we continue to reduce the risk of any such future events and improve Scotland's ability to manage and recover from any events which do occur.
Taking the Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act in 2009 through Parliament was a vital step towards better flood risk management, and real progress has already been made to translate this legislation into actions to reduce the damage and distress caused by flooding.
Important milestones over the past 4 years have included record levels of investment in flood protection by local authorities, creation of a new flood forecasting service for Scotland, and investment into research to improve our understanding of more natural approaches to tackling flooding. In addition, a new approach to providing advance flood warnings to the public was successfully launched earlier this year.
This guidance is another important milestone in implementing the Act and improving how we cope with and manage floods. Delivering sustainable flood risk management sets out statutory guidance to SEPA, local authorities and Scottish Water on fulfilling their responsibilities under the Act and, in particular, on the steps that should be taken to manage flooding in a sustainable manner.
This guidance should form the blueprint upon which SEPA, local authorities and Scottish Water and any other future responsible authorities will deliver their flood risk management responsibilities.
I would like to thank all those who contributed to the development of this guidance which will help shape the way in which floods and their impacts are managed across Scotland.
Minister for Environment and Climate Change