Cameron must suspend Environment Agency cuts as storms sweep UK, says Prospect union


Cameron must suspend Environment Agency cuts as storms sweep UK, says Prospect union

The government must call an immediate moratorium on 1,500 job cuts in the Environment Agency in the light of the flooding that has swept the UK this winter, Prospect, the union for specialists in the agency, said today (Friday).

Prospect Deputy General Secretary Leslie Manasseh said: “Last week David Cameron praised Environment Agency staff for doing an amazing job with the floods and extreme weather. It’s typical that as soon as there is a crisis, the politicians immediately turn to the specialists and professionals with the scientific knowledge and skills to step in and protect the public.

“Yet they expect the managers running such vital services to be forced to focus on how to make cuts, diverting them from their vital work providing flood warnings, repairing damage, maintaining flood defences and planning ahead for future crises of this nature.

“We urge the government to stop these cuts in their tracks and call an immediate review. They need to learn the lessons of the experiences of this winter, which have had such a devastating impact on so many people.”

Staff were told about the 1,500 job losses within the agency, which employs 11,400 people, in October 2013. The cuts, to be made by October 2014, were confirmed in the autumn statement.

It is not yet clear exactly where the cuts will fall, but more than 550 people working in flooding are feared to face losing their jobs, according to figures revealed by the ENDS Report.

Prospect members in the Environment Agency also protect the public in many other ways, including from risks associated with radioactive waste; regulating polluting industries and managing water resources and quality.