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Funding for flood awareness forum

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Scotland's environment minister has launched a new forum to help people in flood-hit areas protect themselves.

Home insurance claims in Broxburn, West Lothian, soared after the area was hit by flash flooding caused by heavy rain this summer.

Minister Mike Russell returned to the town to launch the Scottish Flood Forum, which aims to raise awareness of flood warnings and self-help measures.

He said: "It is increasingly important to raise awareness of flooding in this way, following one of the wettest summers on record.

"The risk is only likely to increase with climate change in years to come. Flooding is highly distressing for its victims and the forum will also play an important role in providing an independent voice for those affected by flooding or at high risk from its devastating impact."

Some £180,000 of Government investment will be pumped into the forum over the next three years, thanks to the National Flood Forum and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

Mary Dhonau, chief executive of the National Flood Forum, commented: "We are delighted that Scottish Government has recognised the valuable work we do and is supporting us financially to enable us to work with and support both the victims and those at risk of flooding in Scotland."

© Press Association 2008