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New bill to improve flood defences

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A new proposal has been presented to the Scottish Parliament in a bid to protect homes near reservoirs from the risk of flooding.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham launched the Reservoirs Bill to update the current legislation surrounding the management of reservoirs and reducing red-tape.

The proposed flood defences could improve the chances of houses in high flood risk areas secure home insurance more easily.

Ms Cunningham said that the chances of any one of the more than 1,000 reservoirs in Scotland flooding were "extremely low".

However, she warned: "The consequences of such an event may be devastating.

"Where there is a risk, we need to ensure that the reservoirs are structurally sound, monitored and well maintained to make sure any risk is minimised.

"These proposals will result in some previously unregulated but higher risk reservoirs being brought under the regime, and this will provide people, property and our infrastructure with a greater level of protection."

The Bill proposes that reservoirs near homes and infrastructure should undergo a proportionate level of inspections to ensure that nearby residents are protected.

According to the Bill, all reservoirs with a capacity of 10,000 cubic metres, equivalent to four Olympic-sized swimming pools, or more will need to be registered with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and categorised according to risk.

© Press Association 2010