VULNERABLE people will be at the heart of future flood defence schemes in the Borders according to a new Scottish Borders Council report.

The report was put forward this week by the Flood and Coastal Management Team and proposed that the findings from the Borders Flood Studies be seen as a national priority for the next flood risk management (FRM) cycle 2022 - 2028.

At the Council meeting yesterday (Thursday, December 19), the local authority approved the submission of the new flood study findings to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Flood and Coastal Management Team leader, Duncan Morrison said: "Research has shown that the more vulnerable groups in society are more negatively impacted by flooding.

"The delivery of actions highlighted in the Local Flood Risk Management Plans are aimed at reducing the risk of flooding and making people more prepared, this will have a beneficial effect on these vulnerable groups.

"Submission of the information to SEPA for the National Prioritisation Exercise may result in higher priority being given to flood protection schemes in the Borders than elsewhere in Scotland and therefore will mitigate the risk from future flood events."

Across the studied sites, a total of 874 properties would be at risk of flooding in a 1:200 flood, also taking into account any changes to flood patterns caused by climate change.

By submitting the latest findings, SEPA can issue SBC with a national ranking, helping to decide how much funding is allocated to the flood management scheme in the Borders.

The study focussed on seven locations in the Borders: Peebles, Broughton, Newcastleton, Crowbyres, Lindean, Earlston and Innerleithen.

Through the study, Earlston and Innerleithen show a reduced flood risk, so won't be included in this cycle of the Flood Protection Scheme. However, maintenance plans are being developed for both sites.

A spokesperson from the Flooding Department at SBC told us: "Although the study did explore what could be done in terms of providing a flood protection scheme in both these area, the final analysis showed that the justification for a flood protection scheme was not fully apparent in comparison to other areas.

"That said, the study highlighted other options to assist in maintaining the existing level of protection and increasing resilience of these town to flooding.

"SBC has committed to developing a formal maintenance plan for all the watercourses in Innerleithen and Earlston. This will entail SBC undertaking a detailed inspection of each watercourse in the towns and developing an 8-10 year maintenance plan to ensure the watercourses remain in a suitable state so not to increase flood risk.

"The two existing flood schemes (one in each area) will also be included in this. When these have been developed these will be presented to the community councils to raise public awareness and to tie in with the Resilient Community groups in each area.

"In addition to this, in the longer term SBC will continue to look at what can be done in the river catchments to help mitigate flood risk."

Works including channel widening, channel diversions and channel restoration have been proposed for some of the listed sites.

The FRM cycle is estimated to cost £46,959,000 by 2026, with 80 per cent of this being covered by Scottish Government and 20 per cent by the Council.