Effective Future Communication of Flood Risk in Scotland

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


This project investigated how to effectively communicate future flood risk and flood risk-related climate change in Scotland, including considering tools and methodologies that currently exist, and how flood risk can be communicated more effectively to technical and non-technical audiences in future. It conducted a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) of literature alongside interviews and workshops with key stakeholders.
This study found that the Scottish public’s current awareness and understanding of flood risk is low, and that future flood risk communication approaches should be mindful of the different needs of different audiences within the diverse Scottish public. Further, communication messages that are very complex to understand, such as return periods (e.g. a 1 in 100-year flood'), should be avoided and new approaches developed for both technical and non-technical audiences. These should be developed with local communities to encourage collective action, enhance community resilience, and promote an empowering shared social identity of preparedness in place.
The project also found that communicating flood risk without providing additional supporting actions to prevent or mitigate that risk can increase maladaptive coping strategies, such as denial or wishful thinking. Therefore, the study concluded that effective future flood risk communication should include recommended actions that are affordable, achievable and appropriate to the socioeconomic and demographic status of diverse Scottish households.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCentre of Expertise for Waters (CREW)
Commissioning bodyScottish Government
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)9780902701977
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2022


  • flood risk communication
  • community engagement
  • public flood risk awareness
  • climate change
  • flood risk adaptation
  • flood risk mitigation
  • flood risk resilience
  • climate justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Demography
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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