Environment Agency hits back at flood criticism
6 July 2007, source edie newsroom
As the country counts the cost of the flood devastation the Environment Agency has hit back at criticism of its performance by MPs.
The committee said the agency had "not delivered protection for the British people".
Committee chairman Edward Leigh said: "In view of the fact that you have manifestly failed to carry out the promises given to this committee, do you think the time has come to consider your own position?"
Baroness Young replied it was not and that she was "immensely proud of what we have achieved for flood risk management over the last seven years".
She added: "If we have one major problem, it is simply that there is much more we could do if we had adequate funding."
The committee grilling on the NAO report entitled Building and Maintaining River and Coastal Defences in England published last month coincided with the worst flooding disaster for years.
The report noted the Environment Agency had made flood risk management improvements, including better protection for 100,000 households.
But it had failed to maintain almost two thirds of flood defence systems in target condition and that since 2001 the general conditions of assets had not improved significantly.
It concluded the agency could reduce the need for extra funding by improving cost effectiveness.
After the hearing, the Environment Agency released a strong statement, in which Baroness Young said: "We reject the charge that the Environment Agency has massively failed, as alleged in the commons public accounts committee."
"In the last seven years, we have created defences that protect 100,000 homes in floodplains, as well as dramatically increased those receiving flood warnings and greatly improved flood mapping and forecasting.
"The current floods result from extreme weather events with flooding mostly from surface water drainage and defences being overtopped by the sheer amount of water - which has been more than a 1 in 150 year events in many places.
"In many situations in the current floods no amount of defences would have protected communities against the overwhelming weight of water that fell in an incredibly short period on already saturated catchments."
This story is tagged with:
By Jim Linwood
It is evident from the television coverage of the flooding that many houses have been recently built in flood risk areas. The Agency normally opposes such development and maps of such areas are freely available on the internet. It is therefore Local Authorities' planning departments that are to blame for new houses being flooded and also Government Planning Insepectors that allow such developments on appeal. The Environment cannot be held resposible for flooding of properties to which they have obejected at the planning stage.
You need to be logged in to make a comment. Don't have an account? Set one up right now in seconds!
© Faversham House Group Ltd 2007. edie news articles may be copied or forwarded for individual use only. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.
Products & Services
CBio is well known for our proactive solutions to blocked drains. With prevention largely being better - and less expensive- than cure, it's no wonder that our patented biofluids fly off the shelves! CBio's biofluids are used to degrade a whole manner of pollutants such as fat, oil, grease (FOG), wa... read more
The Hydro-Brake Optimum , used to control the flow of water to prevent upstream and downstream flooding, has been launched by Hydro International. Hydro-Brake Optimum , the latest generation of Hydro-Brake Flow Controls, is the culmination of over 30 years of research and development in vortex tec... read more
Engineering Nature's Way is a dedicated web resource (www.engineeringnaturesway.co.uk)for people working with Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and flood risk management in the UK. ... read more