This would include the planting of woods to slow the run-off of water during heavy rain and the restoration of natural flood plains and wetlands away from towns and cities. Last night, environmental groups expressed their "delight" at the proposals, although there was some concern that money for flood defences – which is no longer ring-fenced – might be spent in other areas, such as education or housing, by councils.
Mr Russell, launching the consultation during a visit to a flood-prevention scheme in Galston, East Ayrshire, said: "Climate change has seen flooding become an increasingly regular threat to communities around
Speaking at Galston, which was hit by major floods in 1999, Mr Russell added: "We aim to ensure that a modern and sustainable approach is in place across
Ministers will now seek the views of the public, industry experts and local authorities in a study of the country's flood management and to help inform the forthcoming legislation. Mike Donaghy, WWF Scotland's freshwater policy officer and a leading expert on flood prevention, said: "We welcome the approach taken in this consultation – we're really delighted it's taken this form. The Scottish Government has taken on board the advice of WWF and others that we must adopt a more flexible approach to flood risk management. We are glad to see the government moving away from a reliance on expensive hard- engineering methods….
Scottish counties flood damage, 2007