Speaking after marking the completion of the scheme in the Wemyss and Dysart villages of Fife, the deputy minister for environment and rural development Rhona Brankin said:
'One of the consequences of climate change is that storm surges are likely to occur more frequently in the future leading to increased erosion of our coasts.
'Rising sea levels mean it is imperative to protect people's homes and businesses from erosion by the sea. That is why the executive is committed to helping councils find sustainable long-term solutions to help those living with the threat of erosion.
'The residents of East and West Wemyss and Dysart can now live at greater ease with the North Sea. These schemes afford a high standard of protection and have been carried out in an environmentally sensitive way within a tight timescale.'
Councils have powers to promote Coast Protection Schemes, as the coast protection authorities, under the Coast Protection Act 1949. Since local government reorganisation Fife Council has taken the opportunity to look to address coastal concerns in the area. Formal coast protection schemes require to satisfy a statutory procedure, under which schemes are prepared by the council, advertised and finally need to be approved by Scottish ministers.
All approved schemes are eligible for grant from the executive, subject to satisfying cost/benefit requirements. However, capital allocations are the key issue for councils in taking forward capital works on protection. It is for councils to assess their own priorities and decide which schemes to implement.
Even where defences are in place there is always the possibility that extreme weather conditions will cause coastal damage or flooding to some extent. One climate change scenario suggests that Scotland will be more likely to experience extreme rainfall events and increased likelihood of storms.