Environment Agency to cut staff by 1,550

The Environment Agency has said it is planning to cut the number of staff from 11,250 to around 9,700 by October, leading to fears that it will not be able to cope with serious flooding.

Environment Agency job cuts 'absolutely appalling'

Mary Dhonau, chairwoman of the Flood Protection Association, has said she is "absolutely appalled" at the news of job losses at the Environment Agency.

She told BBC Breakfast that the jobs were necessary, adding: "In this climate, and flooding is such a regular occurrence, it really is a no-brainer."

Yesterday, the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said front-line flood defences would be protected after the agency's chief executive Paul Leinster said risk maintenance would be "impacted" and work on flood warnings would "have to be resized".

Read: Environment Agency to cut staff by 1,550

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Environment Sec: DEFRA 'has to make efficiencies'

The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has admitted his department "has had to make efficiencies" after the Environment Agency confirmed that it is making 1,550 redundancies, but said that frontline services will be protected:

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Owen Paterson admits his dept (DEFRA) "has had to made efficiencies" and the "intention" of Env Agency boss is to protect frontline services

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Owen Paterson: Env Agency chief assures me he will carry those out with the intention of protection frontline services concerned with floods

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Paterson: "this govt is spending more on flood defences" <<Capital spend maybe but not flood maintenance budgets - down by £11m

Environment Agency to cut staff by 1,550

David Cameron meeting Environment Agency staff in Yalding, Kent last Friday Credit: Ben Stansall/PA Wire

The Environment Agency has said it is planning to cut the number of staff from 11,250 to around 9,700 by October, leading to fears that it will not be able to cope with serious flooding.

In a statement, the organisation insisted: "We will ensure that we retain the Environment Agency’s incident resilience and maximise investment in environmental improvements."

More money 'being spent on flooding than ever before'

Responding to reports the Environment Agency is to shed 15% of its workforce to save money, a spokesman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said more money is being spent on tackling the risk of flooding than ever before.

A road is closed in Salcombe, Devon following flooding. Credit: RNLI/Salcombe

They said: "We're currently spending over £2.3 billion on tackling the risk of flooding and coastal erosion. Together with contributions from other partners, this is more money than ever before.

"We'll also be making record levels of capital investment and will be spending over £400 million by 2020/21.

"In addition we have provided the Environment Agency with an above-inflation increase of £5 million on their floods maintenance work in 2015/16.

"Departments and agencies across government are having to make choices about their budgets and the Environment Agency is making their own choices about how best to use their resources."

'Homes could be exposed' in Environment Agency cuts

Officials working on flood risk management will be sacked as Environment Agency sheds about 15% of its workforce to save money, according to The Telegraph.

A fire engine drives through a flooded road in Godalming in Surrey after floods hit the area Credit: PA

More than 1,500 jobs will be cut by October, leading to fears that the agency will not be able to cope with serious flooding next year. The agency’s chief executive told the newspaper that the downsizing will have an impact on its flood work.

Paul Leinster, the chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Flood risk maintenance will be [further] impacted. All of our work on mapping and modelling and new developments in things like flood warning will also have to be resized.

"And we’re looking at a proportionate reduction in the number of people in flood risk management.”

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