New legislation aimed at providing better protection for homeowners from the threat of flooding has been launched in Scotland by the country's environment secretary, Richard Lochhead.
The Flood Risk Management Bill is expected to make the process for protecting areas at risk quicker and also aims to create a more joined up and co-ordinated process of flood risk management.
Mr Lochhead launched the Bill at Edinburgh's Water of Leith, where a flood prevention scheme has been put in place after flooding eight years ago left more than 500 homes damaged.
Hundreds of homeowners in Elgin, Moray, were also left counting the cost of claims on their home insurance thanks to serious flooding in 1997, and again three years later.
Mr Lochead said: "Climate change has seen flooding become an increasingly regular threat to communities across Scotland, and this is only likely to increase with predictions of more intense rainfall and rising sea levels in the years ahead.
"The Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill will help deliver better protection for vulnerable communities from the increased risk of flooding.
"Updated legislation will ensure that a fully sustainable and modernised approach to flood management is in place across Scotland."
© The Press Association 2008