‘More than double the number of properties are (sic) at risk from flooding in Scotland than previously thought.’ (BBC Scotland, today 07:27)
Repeated nine times today, I predict, this was the broadcast and website headline for BBC Scotland. I don’t know where the speech marks were in the TV broadcast version, but they should certainly have been more accurately placed around the ‘number.’ I’m happy that SEPA classifications of flood risk are pretty objective and require no doubtful wee speech marks but it was clear that SEPA themselves wanted to qualify the meaning of the word ‘number’. Here’s what is admitted further down:
‘Steve McFarland, of Sepa’s flood risk planning and policy team, said the rise in the figure for “at risk” homes, was largely down to improved modelling and knowledge, rather than an increased physical risk.’
The website, nevertheless, went on to say:
‘The number of Scottish homes and businesses considered at risk of flooding has more than doubled in three years. The new National Flood Risk Assessment estimates that around 284,000 properties are vulnerable to rising river and sea levels. This compares with 108,000 found to be under threat in 2011 and 2015.’
Not mentioned there but in the broadcast version:
‘It comes from a major recalculation now including larger sites like universities which are made up of a number of properties.’
So, instead of University of the West of Scotland, Ayr Campus halls of residence, right next to the river, what was one property is now 600? Repeat this kind of thinking across the country and I’m surprised we don’t have a far greater increase than reported here but these are not ‘properties’ at all. All the halls are the property of the University, insured by them as one owner and at the cost to them as one owner. In financial terms here, nothing has changed.
If we were to strip out, even just the tens of thousands of apparent additional entries here, for student rooms, might the figure for the whole of Scotland actually be falling? Might SNP-led spending on flood prevention be causing that?
Is SEPA pushing for more funding? Is BBC Scotland News full of solid effleunts?