Plans to cut Environment Agency jobs are 'madness' and 'immoral' - claim
Last updated at 09:32, Tuesday, 07 January 2014
A councillor and flood victim has blasted plans to shed jobs in the organisation responsible for flood defences as ‘immoral’.
Elsie Martlew, responsible for the environment with Carlisle City Council and a 2005 flood victim, said the Environment Agency’s plans to cut the workforce by 1,500 were ‘madness’.
“We’re not just talking about property, people lost their lives in the floods in Cumbria,” she said. “For the government to cut 1,500 jobs - including 550 staff who work in flooding - is not only a disgrace, it’s immoral”.
Mrs Martlew added people just needed to look at the number of flood warnings there were in the UK to see how vital the agency’s work was.
“It’s a dreadful experience [to be flooded out]. [To cut these jobs] is madness,” she added.
The Environment Agency was not able to say how many of the jobs in Cumbria could be under threat.
It expects to shed the posts from its 11,250-strong workforce because of a reduction in government funding.
The agency employs 880 people in the north west, including a Cumbrian office at Ghyll Mount, Penrith, and a depot in Kendal.
A spokeswoman said they had not yet confirmed their budget for next year.
“However, we are likely to reduce staff numbers from the previous forecast of around 11,250 at the end of March 2014 to around 9,700 by October,” she said. “We will then aim to keep numbers broadly at that level through to March 2015 dependent of course on future funding.”
However, that statement is at odds with comments made by the agency’s chief executive Paul Leinster, who has warned that the cuts will inevitably “impact” the organisation’s ability to deal with flooding.
According to figures obtained by The ENDS Report, an environmental policy magazine, more than 550 staff who work in flooding could lose their jobs as part of the restructuring.
Mr Leinster told the magazine: “Flood risk maintenance will be 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.”
Carlisle MP John Stevenson said that the cuts were unavoidable and that the agency would have to make them in the most appropriate way.
First published at 09:31, Tuesday, 07 January 2014
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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And the Tories claim to be the guardians of the countryside.
Carlisle and many other places around the country have been saved several times from flooding in recent years by the flood defences and other flood control measures carried out by the Environment Agency. Of course, the places that have been saved from flooding never make it onto the news.
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