Over £40 million extra funding for Environment Agency

Environment Minister Michael Meacher has announced an additional £41.3 million for the Environment Agency over the next four years in order to help the organisation carry out additional new duties.

The Agency is to receive an extra £3.2 million from the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) in the financial year 2000/01, followed by a £7.1 million increase in 2001/02, £15 million in 2002/03, and an extra £16 million the following year. This funding ices the top of the Environment Agency’s cake of a baseline grant from the DETR of £98 million for 2000/01.

“The Environment Agency faces a number of new duties over the next few years, including further measures related to water quality, emissions to the atmosphere, waste regulation, and greater protection for wildlife sites,” said Meacher.

Examples of the Agency’s extended duties include additional monitoring and tackling pollutants to groundwater, requiring an additional £2 million, and £1 million worth of improvements to the navigation infrastructure it owns on several major rivers.

“I am delighted that the Agency’s bid for extra funding for navigation has been successful,” said Sir John Harman, Chairman of the Environment Agency. “Managing and developing our river environments for the benefit of all is part of the Agency’s day-to-day work, but we need more funds specifically to improve the infrastructure and facilities for the millions who use our waterways for sport, recreation and relaxation.

Implementation of the European Commission’s Birds and Habitats Directive, safeguarding important wildlife sites, will require an additional £2 million, and on-going work to tackle pollution will also require extra resources.

“All of these duties will require major input from the Agency and it must be funded accordingly,” said Meacher. “At the same time, it is important that the Agency delivers as efficient and cost-effective a service as possible. We continue to look with the Agency at its base costs. The current Financial Management and Policy Review of the Agency will be investigating these issues further.”

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