Reverse Environment Agency job cuts

Budget must provide full funding for the Environment Agency

Exactly one week before the Chancellor’s budget statement, Prospect is calling on the government to acknowledge the agency’s vital role and reverse the 1,700 job cuts.

The first 100 or so jobs will go on voluntary severance on 31 March 2014.

Prospect negotiator Kevin Warden said: “These government cuts are pure folly, putting the lives and wellbeing of many communities at significant risk. The government appears blind to the vital jobs carried out by all Environment Agency staff during an incident.

“The flood warning system does not just depend on flood specialists. Many other staff with non-related specialisms, such as nuclear engineers and groundwater specialists, are also deeply skilled at operating the warning system to ensure a 24/7 service. And the same is true across all the agency’s incident management roles.Environment Agency worker pumping water

“Removing 15 per cent of these staff, and weakening the agency’s ability to manage incidents, is short-sighted, particularly when viewed against the recent flooding in the south of England.

“The government should accept EA’s long term investment strategy for flood and coastal risk management and commit to increasing flood risk funding year on year.”

Leslie Manasseh, Prospect deputy general secretary said: “The focus has been on job losses in flood risk management, but the organisation influences the quality of life of communities everywhere.

“Its specialists play a key role in ensuring there is enough water available for households, that organised waste crime is stamped out, that radioactive waste is managed safely and that anglers can enjoy their sport on healthy rivers.

“I fear that we will only appreciate the world class service we currently enjoy when these skilled staff have been lost. It is not too late to reverse this foolhardy rush to move staff to the exit. I call on MPs of all parties to listen to the experts, heed the evidence, acknowledge the Environment Agency’s critical role and oppose these cuts.

“I also call on the Chancellor to reflect the groundswell of public opinion and announce proper and full funding for the Environment Agency in his Budget on 19 March.”

Prospect represents 600 professionals in the Environment Agency.