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Environment Agency Accused Of 20 Years Of Negligence

January 28, 2014

By Paul Homewood




More from the Telegraph on the flooding in Somerset.


The head of the Environment Agency has admitted dredging is likely to go ahead in the Somerset Levels to prevent further flooding, amid claims the region has become a “disaster area” due to decades of under-investment.

Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the agency, said that it is “quite possible” dredging will form part of the recovery plan to drain large swathes of land in the south west, but he insisted this was “not a wholesale solution.”

However, critics claim the action is too late and if rivers near the Somerset Levels had been dredged before the storms started, flood plains could have taken hours rather than weeks to drain causing less damage to homes, land and wildlife.

Jean Venables, chief executive of the Association of Drainage Authorities, said it was "very, very urgent" that rivers in the area are dredged to prevent more damage to homes, livelihoods and wildlife.

"It’s a disaster area down there and it could have been avoided if we had actually kept up with maintenance on the rivers," she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

"We’ve got a 20-year backlog of inactivity down there and it is actually very, very urgent that those rivers are dredged.

"We’ve got to invest in these areas. At the moment, the way in which the models work to prioritise the money for investment, it doesn’t go to these areas and it hasn’t done for the last 20 years.

"So we have really got to think very carefully about how we are going to play catch-up."

Properly-maintained flood plains would "drain away within a matter of days and then be ready for the next flood," she said.


As I reported a couple of weeks ago, the rainfall leading up to the floods in this part of the world was not unusual.

As the local MP, Ian Liddell-Grainger, says “This is not a freak act of nature, it is unforgivable negligence.”




  1. Howard permalink
    January 28, 2014 1:39 pm

    Maybe they could axe a few hundreds jobs and vehicles from their 11,200 staff and 7,000 vehicles to free up the measily £5 million needed to dredge the rivers and alleviate the flooding. What a fecking joke the EA is!!!!!!

  2. G. Watkins permalink
    January 28, 2014 2:17 pm

    No mention in the MSM about the EU directive preventing dredged silt being spread over surrounding fields which massively increases the cost.
    The EA seems to have an agenda to turn much of the UK back to nature. MP Rory Stewart (Penrith) made a comment on Countryfile on Sunday about hill farming; the EA attempt to increase the wetlands of East Anglia is another example of their back to nature zeal.
    It won’t be long before Glastonbury Tor reverts to the island of Avalon :-).

  3. Derek Buxton permalink
    January 28, 2014 2:22 pm

    No, it was never about money, it is the “green” agenda again. Smith should resign now, he took notice of the green lobby and now oue People are in trouble solely because of this obsession with “greenpeace” and WWF ecoterrorists. Cameron is also to blame, he appointed this clown as he did with the other nutjob Ed the stupid Davey. It would seem that the whole corrupt group are in the hands of these ecofreaks who take precedence over the People. How could thid happen? A plague on a;ll their houses.!.

  4. Derek Buxton permalink
    January 28, 2014 2:25 pm

    Auro spell did not help, my second line should of course read “our People”..
    Sorry, fingers cannot keep pace with brain.

  5. Howard permalink
    January 28, 2014 2:35 pm

    Why can’t the EA be abolished, then allow insurance companies to invest in flood defences where they are needed, and people to buy flood defence insurance where they are at risk? Insurance companies have more of a vest interest in protecting properties that way. Current state of affairs has not worked. Internal rivalrly between greens and flood defence staff means everyone loses!

  6. Green Sand permalink
    January 29, 2014 11:21 am

    Dear George has stuck his two penneth and has seriously peed off the farming community!

    “Countryfile backlash: farmers angry after sheep blamed for flooding”

    “Environmentalist George Monbiot blamed hill farming practises for removing vegetation and compacting soil with animals’ hooves”

    “Mr Monbiot claimed recent floods in the Severn Valley were “caused by sheep in the hills.”

    Bangor University environmental lecturer Prysor Williams said that “rewilding” or allowing nature to take over the uplands would be “social and cultural genocide”.

    “They are often on another planet.”

    Lot more in the article:-

  7. January 30, 2014 11:29 am

    Rainfall in “parts” of England have broken records for January:
    That is, for the South East and central southern England subset of the 1910 series.
    No doubt some will try to blame it on “climate change” even though it is a small part of a small dataset.

  8. January 30, 2014 8:20 pm

    Nick Miller, on the BBC News Channel, added more confusion by saying that;

    “anything coloured blue and white on the MO rainfall map was at or above average rainfall.”

    Of course white is 80 – 125% vs average, so it could be below average.

    Why not 80-120% I wonder?

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