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Environment Agency Failing?

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 Offwidth 20 Jan 2022

Environment Agency whistleblowers report major internal problems that they think makes them effectively toothless.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jan/20/environment-agency-cuts-staff-blow-whistle

We have had lots of news recently about rapidly declining river quality... so this has major environmental implications beyond politics.

2
 toad 20 Jan 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

The National Rivers Authority were a relatively effective watchdog, which is one of the reasons they were defanged and reconstituted as the EA. The same goes for the Nature conservancy Council which became English Nature which became natural England.  Each time fewer powers but greater responsibility, and of course, much less money. A bowdlerisation of environmental protection.

EN tried to be a more independent regulator and was sucked into much closer supervision by the agricultural elements of defra and reconstituted as NE as a result. 

Government has no appetite for environmental regulation as it doesn't fit with their low tax/ small state/ buckaneering business philosophy, even though voters are really engaging with it. 

And don't get me started on tony juniper

Post edited at 09:27
 mondite 20 Jan 2022
In reply to toad:

> Government has no appetite for environmental regulation as it doesn't fit with their low tax/ small state/ buckaneering business philosophy, even though voters are really engaging with it. 

Yes it upsets the donors but the voters actually liking clean water etc is a bit of a problem hence they can just bin off regulations and have to do it by stealth. The bonus is they can then claim its a failure of the public sector to manage things.

> And don't get me started on tony juniper

He has been rather a disappointment hasnt he? Although I have seen some comments from people who did know him that they arent overly surprised.

OP Offwidth 20 Jan 2022
In reply to toad and mondite

Thanks for the supporting words on how serious this is. I see the recent declining state of our rivers as a national tragedy and am amazed how few people seem to care about it and about how the agency responsible for policing pollution problems is so ineffective compared to the NRA. I did expect the dislikes (a few here seem to auto dislike anything I link from the Guardian).

4
 Phil79 20 Jan 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

I've been dealing with them on and off for most of my career, and their interest in and ability to respond (on groundwater & contaminated land issues) has definitely declined over past 10 years.

There seems to be plenty of money for flood prevention and new infrastructure works in that regard (as hot topic in the media, voters being concerned, people moaning to their MPs etc) but decreasing amounts to deal with pollution incidents and river and groundwater pollution. 

I guess the solution is that people need to make a fuss about this kind of stuff if they care about it, and hopefully drive some change.

That seems to be changing slightly, in terms of high pofile media campaigns on river quality etc.

I see in that article their Chief Exe has threatened to sack anyone speaking to the media about internal failings (a sure fire way to improve staff moral and drive engagement!).

Fairly sorry state of affairs.        

 toad 20 Jan 2022
In reply to Offwidth

Feargal Sharkey has done some outstanding work holding their feet to the fire over river quality

 neilh 20 Jan 2022
In reply to Offwidth:

HSE is now more concerned with fining companies and filling the coffers than working with companies on prevention. It  is a similar mindset.

In reply to Offwidth:

Somone in the know was telling me recently due to cuts to the EA they now have had to instigate a policy of not enforcing breaches on small companies and landowners and are effectively not fulfilling there statutory obligations. They simply dont have the resources and I am aware of a few really bad environmental incidences where they have done nothing recently. I blame this firmly on the Tories rather than the EA where the phrase "effective minimum" has become a rather pathetic mantra.


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