Flooding in the Classroom

John Thomson, Chair of the Freuchie Flood Action Group, visited Dundee University on Tuesday to talk to students on the University’s undergraduate Geography programme about flooding from a resident’s perspective.

Flooding talk to Dundee University students on 28th February 2012
Photo: John (centre, left) is pictured with the students and Dr Andrew Black, a Senior Lecturer in the University (centre, right).

The University of Dundee has to be commended for allowing the real world experience and knowledge of flood survivors to be shared with students. As John pointed out during the talk, the rubbish sitting in skips outside flooded properties was once someone’s possessions and the fabric of their home or as he put it, “That’s someone’s home in a skip!”

Low cost innovative flood prevention solutions have been implemented here in Freuchie, an approach we’ve been forced to take due to the lack of funding for the more traditional big engineering approach to flood prevention. It was important to demonstrate to the students how small amounts of money on simple engineering solutions can make big improvements to flood risk.

Another major thread in the talk was to discuss the power of communities in coming together to help themselves and to work in partnership with the local authority, SEPA and other agencies to improve the flood risk impacting on the community.

Today the support available to flooded communities and the law surrounding flooding has improved since FFAG was first formed, both of which are game changers in how flooding is now being dealt with throughout Scotland.

To know the next generation of hydrologists and flood professionals has a greater appreciation of the impact of flooding can only be reassuring to the many areas of Scotland blighted by this ever threatening risk to their homes and businesses.

Dr Andrew Black commented, "Flood risk management is a huge field and our students are always enthusiastic to learn about the latest technical and policy initiatives from around the world designed to help manage this perennial hazard.  However, some of the most valuable lessons about floods, their impacts, and how to mitigate them, can be learned from close to home, so it was great that John was able to come and meet the students.  It’s a great example of learning in a university that knows its place in its community.”

Additional Notes:

Freuchie has experienced a number of flood events over the last decade. The flood events on the 13th August 2008 caused over £1m of property damage throughout the village.

Significant improvements have already been made to protect many of the properties so badly affected in 2008.

Freuchie was designated as the next area for a flood scoping study in a Transportation Services report submitted to Fife Council’s Enterprise, Environment and Transportation Committee in November 2010.

Dundee University will also be hosting a major UK hydrological symposium in July when the British Hydrological Society(BHS)  holds its biennial symposium in Dundee.  The event will see more than 100 hydrologists from around the UK and beyond descend on the city for a programme of scientific papers, discussions and field visits.  Andrew Black is the immediate Past President of the BHS and will be welcoming the hydrologists to Dundee for the first time.