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Wednesday 2nd
posted by Peter Lazenby in Britain

PROPOSALS from MPs to break up the Environment Agency and establish a “national floods commissioner” following last year’s floods have been slammed by environment group Friends of the Earth.

The suggestion came from Parliament’s environment, food and rural affairs committee, which wants a “radical overhaul” of the way flooding is dealt with to protect threatened communities.

The committee says extra cash earmarked for flood defences is “unlikely to deliver sufficient protection in future decades.”

It calls for the creation of a national floods commissioner for England and an English Rivers and Coastal Authority to take over responsibility for flooding from the Environment Agency.

But Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said: “Abolishing the Environment Agency’s role in flooding, as this report proposes, is a terrible idea, which would waste vital expertise and could cause more delays in planning better ways to avoid flooding.

“The environment committee clearly understands that better management of our rivers and waterways needs more joined-up thinking — not less.”

The shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs Rachael Maskell MP said: “The committee has highlighted many of the same concerns and solutions that Labour has been raising, including the committee chair’s feeling that the government’s Flood Resilience Review offers ‘limited solutions.’

“There is still a lack of confidence in schemes to protect businesses and the £12.5 million pledged to temporary flood barriers will not bring the long-term protection required.”