ONE in four Inverclyde homes and 70 per cent of businesses are at risk of flooding according to a new report by environmental experts.

A study by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has found that thousands of properties are under threat from rising water levels, particularly in Greenock, Port Glasgow and Gourock.

Hundreds of businesses and dozens of community facilities could also be affected, according to the potentially vulnerable areas report.

It found that almost 9,000 homes from a total of 32,300 - 27 per cent - are deemed 'at risk' of flooding.

Just over 4,000 - 12 per cent - are classed as 'low' risk, 3,300 - one in 10 homes - are said to be 'medium' and more than 1,300 - four per cent - are in the 'high' risk bracket.

Inverclyde's MP Ronnie Cowan and MSP Stuart McMillan have expressed concerns at the figures, but say work is ongoing behind the scenes by Inverclyde Council, the Scottish Government and partner agencies, including Scottish Water, to tackle the problem.

The politicians have also urged residents to speak up in a SEPA public consultation exercise, which runs until July.

Mr Cowan said: "As residents of Inverclyde are fully aware, the issue of flooding is a very real one for the area and it can cause damage to households and misery for commuters and travel with flooded roads and networks.

"Work is being progressed to alleviate flood problems in the area, such as the recent Scottish Government investment of £2.8 million for Greenock town centre.

"However, I believe it's important for Inverclyde residents to make their views known about flooding by responding to SEPAs consultation to improve Scotland's future flood risk plans."

The new study also found that nearly 70 per cent of an estimated 2,700 local businesses are under threat of flooding.

More than a fifth of community facilities are also 'at risk' of being deluged - 67 out of 400.

MSP Mr McMillan said: "Not every part of my constituency is at risk of flooding, but it's in all our interests to ensure flood risk assessments and prevention measures are robust.

"Scottish Water are currently pursuing flood prevention works in and around Greenock town centre which I have warmly welcomed, but there are other areas that residents may also be concerned about, and this consultation allows them to voice that concern.

"Just because some residents in Inverclyde maybe don't live in a potentially vulnerable area in regards to flooding, doesn't mean they will not experience the negative impact of flooding.

"If roads, shops, schools or GP surgeries in Inverclyde are closed due to flooding then we will all be affected.

"I strongly encourage my constituents to participate in SEPA's consultation process and have their say on Inverclyde’s future flood risk plans."

To take part in the survey visit