The head of the Environment Agency Sir Philip Dilley, under pressure to defend his handling of Britain’s worst flooding crisis for years amid reports that he has left the country to spend time at his luxury Caribbean home in Barbados.
The Environment Agency is a non-departmental public body, established in 1996 and sponsored by the United Kingdom government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [DEFRA], with responsibilities relating to the protection and enhancement of the environment in England [and until 2013 also Wales].
The Environment Agency employs around 11,200 staff. It is organised into eight directorates that report to the chief executive Sir Philip Dilley, another £100,000 a year waste of space.
The Environment Agency's total funding in 2007–08 was £1,025 million, an increase of £23 million on 2006–07. Of that total, £628 million [61 per cent] was provided in the form of 'flood defence grant-in-aid' from government [£578 million for England and £50 million for Wales]. In addition, £347 million [34 per cent] was raised through statutory charging schemes and flood defence levies; and a further £50 million [5 per cent] came from other miscellaneous sources.
In 2007–08 had an operational budget of £1.025 billion, of which £628m was grant from the Agency's sponsoring Government Departments. Approximately half the Agency's expenditure is on flood risk management, and a third is spent on environment protection (pollution control). Of the remainder, 12% goes to water resources, and 6% to other water functions including navigation and wildlife.
Since the establishment of the Environment Agency several major flood events have occurred and the Agency has been the target of criticism. A number of reports have been produced which chart various developments in flood management.
Easter 1998 Floods and Bye report
Autumn 2000 Floods and Learning to Live with Rivers
June 2007 National Audit Office report
Summer 2007 Floods and the Pitt Review
What happens when you build a wall to stop water from entering the designated area, it usually flows around the side. The biggest single problem the Environment Agency has still not fathomed is it's main purpose.