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Greens call on Cameron to sack Paterson for flood chaos

Tory slash-and-burn policies continue to wreak havoc on the Environment Agency

Tory slash-and-burn policies will continue to wreak havoc on the Environment Agency even as the damage already done by cuts has been exposed, unions and campaigners warned yesterday.

Union GMB said it expected the government to push forward with its plans to axe 1,700 Environment Agency jobs after the floods have receded with a meeting slated for Thursday.

The agency put the 10 per cent cutback on hold after Tory PM David Cameron waded through flood-hit areas promising to throw all the money needed at the crisis.

But Greenpeace accused the Department for the Environment yesterday of "burying" a flood risk-planning document detailing 1,400 projects that the campaign group said would have benefitted thousands of homes hit by the recent floods.

The group said plans were postponed because of budget cuts, saying that climate change denier Owen Paterson should lose his job as environment secretary.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Jimmy Aldridge said Mr Paterson had "slashed the budget of the Environment Agency against the advice of his own experts, and delayed projects that could have protected more homes, businesses and farmland from flooding.

"He's up the creek without a paddle and he needs to go before he takes us all with him."

The sentiments were echoed by the GMB, which said it was clear the cuts would be back with a vengeance.

A spokesman said: "At the root of the current flooding crisis are successive years of central government cuts that have trimmed maintenance budgets to unsustainable levels.

"The government must immediately reverse the cut of 1,700 EA jobs.

"This should be followed by an independent inquiry into what are the realistic funding levels necessary to ensure the EA has both the capital budget to protect the country from flooding and drought and a big enough revenue budget to maintain, service and run these vital defences."


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