MORE than 4 per cent of homes in Scotland are thought to be at risk of flooding, a new report for the Scottish government has warned.
There are more than 108,000 in the category classed as being “exposed” and vulnerable to floods, according to the Mapping Flood Disadvantage in Scotland 2015 study.
Ministers were also warned that “climate change is likely to aggravate the frequency and severity of flooding in Scotland”.
The authors of the report called for greater advance planning to protect those at risk.
The findings were published weeks after hundreds of Scots were forced to flee their homes to escape rising flood water as Storm Desmond wreaked havoc across the country.
Falkirk, the Orkney Islands and West Dunbartonshire, Stirling, the Borders, Perth and Kinross and Moray were among the worst council areas affected, the report said.
It also found that 73 per cent of the “extremely or acutely vulnerable” homes that are most likely to be affected are in large urban areas of Scotland.
However, it highlighted the risk of flooding in remote small towns and rural areas, which it said are particularly hard hit because of “social and physical isolation” and mobility issues facing older people.
Flooding and landslides have caused chaos across Scotland in December, with homes having to be abandoned as rivers burst their banks in the Borders and Tayside.
The report, prepared by experts for ministers, backed “urgent action” to alleviate the risks to the large numbers of “highly vulnerable communities exposed to flooding”.
Environment minister Dr Aileen McLeod, commenting on the findings, told The Scotsman: “Climate change is happening now.
“Extreme weather is having an impact in Scotland and across Europe and the world – as some communities have already experienced to devastating effect this winter.
“This report highlights that the changing climate is increasing the risk of flooding for a number of Scottish communities.”
Environmental charity WWF also warned that climate change was likely to worsen the flooding problem in Scotland.
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “Although we have become much better at preventing homes from being built in flood-prone areas, climate change means that more existing properties will start to be at risk from flooding.”