Cuts to flood defence funding and the Environment Agency
Commenting on Owen Paterson’s statement today that the Environment Agency ‘intends’ to protect front-line flooding services, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:
“On the same day that the Environment Agency Chief Executive said that it’s inevitable that Defra’s cuts will impact on their ability to deal with flooding, Owen Paterson’s bizarre claim that these front line services will be protected will ring hollow for all those affected by the current flooding.
“What's more, the Environment Agency says investments in flood defences must increase to keep pace with climate change - yet the Coalition has overseen a real-terms cut in spending on them.
“Every £1 invested in protecting us from flooding saves £8 in damages - cutting flood defence spending is a false economy and David Cameron now needs to intervene.”
Notes to editors:
1. Environment Agency Chief Executive Paul Leinster has warned that government cuts will inevitably “impact” the organisation’s ability to deal with flooding. More than 550 staff who work in flooding could lose their jobs as part of the restructuring, according to figures obtained by The ENDS Report, an environmental policy magazine. Mr Leinster told the magazine: “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.”