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« Guardian in sensible comment shocker | Main | Another AR5 hearing »
Tuesday
Feb112014

EA working with Labour against government?

Inside the Environment Agency is reporting that he has received a letter from a potential whistleblower who claims to have evidence that Agency officials are conspiring with the Labour party to undermine the government.

I have been following your blog for the last few months. You make some truthful claims but they are only the tip of the iceberg. I have been working for the Environment Agency as a team leader for six years. Your last post on political hypocrisy is what has prompted this email. I can give you the evidence you need showing senior managers in the South West conspiring with Labour MPs to discredit this government over the past two to three years, which I believe have made the floods far worse than they otherwise would have been. The MPs involved are: xxxxx (edited out for legal reasons - Labour MPs based in South West towns and cities)

There's always the possibility that it's not true, but it might be worth laying in supplies of popcorn, just in case.

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Reader Comments (59)

I do hope this whistle-blower has blogged/commented/emailed from a public library some way from his home....

Feb 11, 2014 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Bish I would bet your left nut that this is spot on. The bullet always comes from the left they say. The bull$hit too it would seem,

Feb 11, 2014 at 9:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Take Your Pick

Roger Berry, Kingswood
Ben Bradshaw, Exeter
Parmjit Dhanda, Gloucester
David Drew, Stroud
Linda Gilroy, Plymouth Sutton
Jim Knight, South Dorset
Kerry McCarthy, Bristol East
Doug Naysmith, Bristol North West
Dan Norris, Wansdyke
Dawn Primarolo,
Alison Seabeck,
Anne Snelgrove, South Swindon
Michael Wills, North Swindon

Feb 11, 2014 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterdayday

This so called whistle blower, may well be real and the insinuations could indeed be truthful.

Labour MPs seeking to discredit the coalition, no doubt of it, that is what they all do.

Evidently, there has been a litany of mistakes, malpractice, deceit, poor maintenance of sluices, rhynes and pumping plant. Added to an almost religious adherence to an agenda directed by the eco zealots sitting in Brussels - all of this was done under the Labour administration.
It must be said, it's also true that the Coalition did nothing but aid the EA to further their eco agenda and at no time attempted to halt the direction and practices of said agency. All of this, was done at the expense of the people lives and livelihoods, not only of those living on the Somerset levels but of those people residing along the banks of such rivers as the Thames and Severn.

Imho, this begs the question, what additional devilry, mischief making - can these said Labour MPs add to the mix?

I would posit, not a lot.

Feb 11, 2014 at 9:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I was a police officer for a bit longer than I care to remember and I know that in any group of miscreants, there's always someone prepared to snitch, be it for money or conscience.
I'd be prepared to believe this whistle-blower unless and until he/she is shown to be a 'plant'.
Just my two penneth worth.

Feb 11, 2014 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Brown

I think we are in danger of creating a witch hunt against the EA . The overwhelming majority of the staff are dedicated and hard working and those on the front line deserve our thanks and admiration. Undoubtedly there are a number of placemen in the ea of which the chairman is the best example.

Do they make things worse than they should be? Undoubtedly. Why? They are carrying out the policies of our elected government and our lately unelected European bureaucrats who constantly put forward impractical ideas including those on environmental bio diversity. It is Well known that the Somerset levels were being partly returned to nature as a deliberate policy of those in charge of us who think they know best. The ea are merely implementing national and eu policy.

What makes me say that? I was a defra appointed unpaid member of the EA's south west flood defence committee for nine years. I Don't subscribe to the conspiracy theory outlined in this article. However, if your contact can supply information to the contrary let's hear it.

Personally I think that the EA in carrying out govt policy has a defeatist attitude. Their slogan actually proclaims ' we can't prevent flooding...'

Well, yes they can, as myself and others constantly pointed out, but if an entire organisation is predicated in the belief that they can only mop up after an event we are all in trouble,

Tonyb

We can't prevent flooding but we can help people prepare for it.

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterTonyb

"senior managers......conspiring with Labour MPs to discredit the government over the past two to three years, which I believe have made the floods far worse than they would have been."

I will take it with a big pinch of salt.

Exactly how did they know there was going to be severe rainfall leading to severe flooding and it would lead to discrediting the government? Weren't they more likely to discredit themselves? My 'Bull Meter' just hit maximum.

Now if they had said they were encouraged by labour MPs to introduce environmental policies that made the floods worse than they would have been then my Bull meter dial wouldn't have moved.

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHot under the collar

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:15 PM Hot under the collar

Hasn't there already been some talk about the EA planning to cause mayhem in the areas where the EA didn't like the MP? (don't have the reference but it was in the last few days)

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:25 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Hi from Oz. Is the UK still a parliamentary democracy, or did I blink and miss its transition to a third world failed state? Just askin...

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBoyfromTottenham

Exactly how did they know there was going to be severe rainfall leading to severe flooding ...?

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHot under the collar

Easy, the climate scientists told them.

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Not all climate scientists EM:
//
BRITAIN’S winters are getting colder because of melting Arctic ice, the Government’s forecaster said yesterday.
Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo said climate change was “loading the dice” towards freezing, drier weather — and called publicly for the first time for an urgent investigation.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4881369/Is-the-UK-set-for-Arctic-weather.html
//

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

Entropic man
They looked at history and knew that there'd be heavy rain sooner or later, there always is. Odds were that the longer the neglect the less extreme rain that would be required. The last 3-4 months are heavy but not extreme. January 2014 wouldn't make it into the top 50. I got that data from the Guardian so it must be correct, although it was in an article about droughts being the new norm :-)

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It's my direct experience that EA officials above a certain pay grade have an insatiable appetite for intrigue and are underemployed to the extent that they can devote time (and your taxes) to indulge said appetite. The setting up of client lobbying outfits like Climate South West which operates from EA Exeter office being a trivial and amateur example.

One of the M.P.s in the list above has been quite vociferous about public sector "cuts". A witch hunt? meh... more like


Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived;
God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap

seems more appropriate - and I'm not religious at all.

Access by NGO activists to EA senior staff is also something that likely should be looked at - there have been suggestions that some not entirely kosher stuff has been going on there in the rapidly expanding fracking department.

Stephen Brown: in any group of miscreants, there's always someone prepared to snitch, be it for money or conscience. - or escape the firing squad :-)

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:22 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Oh puh-leeze, puh-leeeeeeezzze!
Let it be true.

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Nah! Labour don't have the nous to take gutter politics to littoral levels...

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:28 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Stephen Brown: in any group of miscreants, there's always someone prepared to snitch, be it for money or conscience.

And the harder you fought to get to the top of the greasy pole, the more enemies you have: people who could not say or do anything when you were the darling of Westminster. But Now! Now that they are an embarrassment to their organisation and everyone would much rather they just left.

Strange how people's memories suddenly improve.

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:30 PM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Given for decades what we have all observed why would anybody think that a UK politicians first and foremost overriding consideration is the well being of UK citizens?

Never mind the tail wagging the dog, tis time for the dog to start scratching out the infestation.

Woof!

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:37 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Not banned yet

Can you give me a direct link to what Dr Slingo said.

Your quote is what WUWT said the Sun said she said.

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

The post might be from some disgruntled employee, trying to cause trouble. However, with arch warmists as Ben Bradshaw being involved, I can believe it is possible. One thing is certain, the EA will be spitting blood, as it is realised thar failure to dredge was part of their preferred plan.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Can you give me a direct link to what Dr Slingo said.
EM - Try the third video here:

http://www.itv.com/news/2013-04-10/met-office-investigating-arctic-link-in-record-low-temperatures/ about 1:08 in.

You're welcome.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterdcardno

BRITAIN’S winters are getting colder because of melting Arctic ice, the Government’s forecaster said yesterday.
Met Office chief scientist Julia Slingo said climate change was “loading the dice” towards freezing, drier weather — and called publicly for the first time for an urgent investigation.

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4881369/Is-the-UK-set-for-Arctic-weather.html
//
Feb 11, 2014 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet


------------------------------------------
Not banned yet

Can you give me a direct link to what Dr Slingo said.

Your quote is what WUWT said the Sun said she said.
Feb 11, 2014 at 11:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Video available here. Thanks, NBY.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:46 AM | Unregistered Commentermichaelhart

Peter Stroud

hmmm.... IIRC Mr Bradshaw is quite chummy with Climate South West.

I don't know if there's specific collective noun for disgruntled employees - but insidetheenvironmentagency.co.uk isn't a one man band these days - the management have a talent it would seem for disgruntling their charges big time.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Entirely off topic, Your Bishopness, and you might already know of this since it's your area of research, but it's an interesting snippet for your readership nonetheless. From April, 1923 -

http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/77891667?searchTerm=causes%20of%20change%20of%20climate&searchLimits=

Feb 12, 2014 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterLeg-iron

Er....having spent some time in Whitehall, I can think of no occasion where the senior managers and civil servants are NOT trying to discredit the government of the day and operate their own policies. It's almost irrelevant which party is nominally in power - forcing the ministers to do what YOU want as opposed to what THEY want is perfectly normal. And 'working' with the opposition - providing data and leaks, for instance - is a fairly common tactic to use.

I recall that Churchill made good use of civil service leaks in the House during his 'wilderness' years. Always has happened, always will happen. I can't see much opportunity for scandal here...

Feb 12, 2014 at 1:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Dodgy Geezer

quite - but depending on what if anything comes out of this - it'll likely have a few folk in Somerset rummaging around the shed for rusty old pitchforks :-)

Feb 12, 2014 at 3:31 AM | Registered Commentertomo

EA published this before they had the "evidence" from the "whistleblower?" Why? Shouldn't they have consented to receive the evidence, verified it's authenticity and then published? Why would someone identify his job level if he was truly a whistle-blower and wanted tor remain anonymous? If you truly wanted to remain anonymous as an employee of EA, you wouldn't give a clue that eliminates most of the employees there as possible suspects. Granted he could be lying about the "team leader" part, but why even mention it?

A good journalist would have gotten the whole story and verified its authenticity before publishing a teaser like this. Or at least that is how it's done on this side of the pond.

Feb 12, 2014 at 5:15 AM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

The story is probably most naturally read as labor mps attempting to discredit a tory/lib dem govenment.

An alternative is mps helping to discredit climate skepticism in parliament. DEFRA/NE/EA/EU policy is in large part based of rising temperatures causing rising sea levels, leading to unsustainable cost of maintaining sea defences and threat to saltmarsh (habitat for migrating birds).

DEFRA/EA/NE policies since they were created have been based on climate change. Isn't it natural they're going to fight back against any suggestion they've been wasting their time and our money?

EA is getting a lot of criticism at the moment but it is important to understand there targets are set by DEFRA. As we already know at least some of these policies were written by people who came from pressure groups (RSPB FOE )

Finally to throw something else into mix has anyone seen http://www.jubileeriver.co.uk/ a tale of another glorious EA success creating flooding, this time west london at a cost of £110million. Based on this EA plan a £300 million project for East London!

Feb 12, 2014 at 7:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Shiers

Ben Bradshaw, ex-BBC (with a direct line into the BBC SW, his partner working for the BBC), MP for the Met Office, the EA in the SW and Climate SW. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him.

Feb 12, 2014 at 7:11 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@Entropic Man: the January rainfall was the highest since 250 years' ago. You say it is because of high CO2 yet 250 years' ago, CO2 was lower. Go figure Dumbkopf........:0)

PS this winter's rainfall is way below maximum.

Feb 12, 2014 at 7:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMydogsgotnonose

MDGNN
To back up what you say. It may well be that January's rainfall was the highest January figure for 250 years but what is left out is that using the MO's own data is that it isn't in the top 60 individual months or were the previous three months exceptional. As usual the BBC and MO are hiding behind whatever data they can find to back up the story.

BTW I got the link for the MO data from a two year old Guardian story and did the comparison so Jan 2014 may be lower down the table than I think.

Feb 12, 2014 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommentersandyS

"PS this winter's rainfall is way below maximum."

Average and averages, means and medians and where do you draw the line?

MDGN, it's quite dryish in Scotland and elsewhere - in the north east, nary a flooded beck to be seen.

Latest scare is 'groundwater' "UNPRECEDENTED HIGH LEVELS" - implication being, we're all going to drown from water coming up from under the bed - shock horror.

Feb 12, 2014 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

I rarely credit any politicians to be clever enough to mount a conspiracy. They merely take advantage of situations that naturally arise. As most Labour MPs anyway believed the scientists who said that drought was the real future problem then it sounds more likely like someone is dangling a conspiracy theory to see how many credudulous people bite. Incompetence, dogma, greed, sloth and hypocrisy are fully enough to explain this situation.

Feb 12, 2014 at 8:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Brilliant article by Robert Hardman in the Mail yesterday.

This so called whistle blower just Political Spin trying to pull Labour also into the political flood waters.

Milliband and Labour keeping very quiet keeping themselves well out of it .Sanding on the shore lines in the dry laughing as the government slowly imploding under the flood water.
Even Nigel is keeping out it Dont want to enrage local Middle class Middle England Berkshire west Country opinion any further.

The floods have floundering Chris Smith Owen Paterson and Eric Pickles all at each others throats

Meanwhile Cameron and Clegg wading around chasing soundbites and photo opportunities amongst the sand bags but luckily avoiding the angry locals.

Would imaging a few percentage points gained as the Labour party float above following the government slowly drowning in the flood fiasco.

These floods no where near as damaging to property as they have been to political credibility.

To paraphrase the classic headline form Hurricane Sandy "Its shear stupidity stupid"

Bad planning cant blame that on Climate Change.

Feb 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Dawn Primarolo,

She's the one, I bet. She was a nasty little hitler at the treasury with that other Balls.

Feb 12, 2014 at 8:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Bad planning cant blame that on Climate Change.

Feb 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid


They can, you know.

Feb 12, 2014 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

theduke

A good journalist would have gotten the whole story and verified its authenticity before publishing a teaser like this.
That's certainly how I would have handled it. But then I was led to believe that a journalist's first obligation was to report the facts and that unsolicited material was always to be checked on (twice if possible) and always on the basis of "why is this lying bastard lying to me?"
The other half of the phrase 'comment is free' is supposed to be 'but facts are sacred'.

Feb 12, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

…..hmmm.... IIRC Mr Bradshaw is quite chummy with Climate South West.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Registered Commentertomo

So, reading your link we find that the Environment Agency is running taxpayer funded green activist groups out of its regional offices.

I bet that's much more fun for the boys & girls than messing about maintaining muddy old rivers.

Perhaps they fit a bit of light dredging in-between demos and placard painting workshops.

Sanity has left the building in the poor old UK.

Feb 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

The whole BBC blanket coverage does smack of a combined effort to bring "the reality of climate change" to the public's attention. When nature wasn't coming up with scary enough goods, it's not beyond these people to manufacture one.

Feb 12, 2014 at 9:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterTBYJ

Take Your Pick - dayday

A little more accurate research required, nine of those people have not been MP's since 2010

Feb 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDLW

Feb 11, 2014 at 9:47 PM | dayday

Your list of MPs is out of date. For one, the MP for Stroud is currently the Tory Neil Carmichael mp.

The blame game with the EA is nothing new in politics. When the NHS are told to cut spending, do you think they'll reduce wastage and freebies for management, or shut down a few maternity wings? The EA think they've got a get out of jail free card because they can blame everything on spending cuts.

Feb 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Mike H

"And the harder you fought to get to the top of the greasy pole, the more enemies you have"

And then you meet them again on the way down!

Feb 12, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Labour MPs based in South West towns and cities)
=======================================

Ben Bradshaw, Exeter MP, was on the radio the other day stating that climate change was washing away the South coast. I won't say any more.

Feb 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Hi from Oz. Is the UK still a parliamentary democracy, or did I blink and miss its transition to a third world failed state? Just askin...

Feb 11, 2014 at 10:47 PM | BoyfromTottenham
================================================

You blinked. If you want a fine analysis of what happened, I have to recommend Peter Oborne's "The Triumph of the Political Class", which details how they have stripped down democracy in the UK (and elsewhere), and concludes that really, it's us against them now, not Con v Labour v LibDem. Amazon have it, and whilst it is a depressing read, it's a must. There's no way any of the major parties will get my vote again.

Feb 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:46 AM | michaelhart
==============================================

Of course, it's whatever gets you through the night for the warmers. Met Office were telling us to plant Mediterranean gardens not that long ago, many "authorities" were telling us that climate change would mean milder winters and no snow. As soon as that doesn't happen, then climate change becomes responsible for what is now happening. It's perfect. Every thing is caused by climate change. North America has had some six or seven severe Polar Vortices since the 70s. Suddenly, they are caused by climate change.

Meanwhile, the Met Office predicted a drier than usual winter. Bonuses all round.

Feb 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM | Registered Commenterjeremypoynton

Hot under the collar wrote about the Environment Agency:

Exactly how did they know there was going to be severe rainfall leading to severe flooding and it would lead to discrediting the government? Weren't they more likely to discredit themselves?

It's quite simple; the Met Office predicted “drier than normal” conditions.

MET OFFICE TOLD PLANNERS TO EXPECT A ‘DRIER THAN NORMAL’ WINTER
http://www.thegwpf.org/met-office-told-planners-expect-drier-normal-winter/

When the Met Office issues a long range forecast (which they claim not to do!) you know to expect the opposite. When they predict a drought you know that it is time to start building an Ark!

Shouldn't Dame Slingo get a negative bonus this year? Mind you, when bankers can get bonuses for ruining the country and for not ruining the country, when should public sector bosses get on the gravy train too?

Feb 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

At privatisation, most of the practical engineers went to the water companies. A few engineers and scientists who had developed water supplies and sewage works stayed with the National Rivers Authority and some had very good academic backgrounds- Bristol, King's, Birmingham, University College Imperial- these mostly retired by the mid 2000s. When the EA was formed in 1995 it did receive a few practical scientists /engineers from County Council Waste Regulation Authorities. From about 2000, the EA has mostly recruited environmental science /geography graduates from minor universities/ex-polys who supervise outside companies who undertake any work. Consequently very few EA staff have any design,construction or operational experience.

The EA is also full of conceited graduates who believe they are intellectually and morally superior to the people they deal with: the problem is that they lack the academic ability and experience of many graduates who entered the water industry from the late 1960s to 1988.

Within the EA there has been a massive loss of experience and knowledge which has been built up since water companies were established in the 1860s and later. In some areas, knowledge on flooding and drainage dates back to the 13C , when the Church started draining land very few EA graduates have any respect for this accumulated wisdom.

The overall performance of organisations such as the EA, are controlled by the competence of the least technically able, the laziest, those least willing to shoulder responsibility and the least willing to use their initiative , which in this case is very low.It would not surprise me if only 20% of the total staff are worth keeping and I doubt they will be found within the top 3 levels of management.

It is time that the EA was redesigned. There are 83 counties in England. Probably what is needed are 4-5 chartered scientists covering the main technical disciplines supported by 3-4 technicians. Areas with flooding may need a few more civil engineers. This would give a headcount of (83x5)x4=1660. The staff would be attached to county councils . Roads,landfills and minerals are a county concern. Therefore it would be sensible for EA staff to be attached to county councils. The pay for the chartered scientists and technicians would be comparable to the private sector but there would be no flexi-time and holidays would be 20 days for first 2 years , then rising to 25 days. What is needed is quality , not quantity of personnel. Chartered personnel must show experience of design,construction and operations.
EA buildings would be sold off and staff installed in existing county council buildings and/or or modern construction site type offices.

The primary job of the EA must be to install effective monitoring networks and collate all existing records. Unless we have reliable data, no effective design can be undertaken. Accurate record keeping started with municipal water companies from about the 1860s and from the mid 60s many water authorities undertook high quality investigations and research. Part of the of the problem is that the EA has very poor records of previous readings and research.

Feb 12, 2014 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Really annoying yesterday to see that smug little clod Nick Robinson asking Owen Paterson and Nigel Farage if they believe in climate change now after these floods. I wish they'd said - "oh you mean that climate change that we were told 2 years ago would bring more droughts - not on your nelly do I believe it! Why would anyone with a properly functioning brain believe it?". Wouldn't it be lovely if journalists were as skeptical as their profession demands and had sufficient memory to be able to do their job properly and ask the right questions.

Feb 12, 2014 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

@Charlie

"It is time that the EA was redesigned. There are 83 counties in England. ... The staff would be attached to county councils."

The Government has got a very recent precedent for doing just that. A few thousand Public Health doctors have had their contracts amended. They are now employed by Local Authorities instead of the NHS. Some costs were cut as well.

e.g. http://bma.org.uk/practical-support-at-work/contracts/independent-contractors/public-health-services-contract-faqs

Feb 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Macdonald

Keith MacDonald
Thank you for this. The UK does need an environmental capability but it needs one which offer competence and value for money and does not have an extreme green agenda.

Feb 12, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Feb 11, 2014 at 11:01 PM | Entropic man

And there was me thinking that warm-mongers didn't have a sense of humour.

Feb 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

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