14/12/2007

NEWS RELEASE                NATIONAL FLOOD FORUM

 

Environment Agency Pulls the Plug on Flood Forum

 

Just as the Environment Agency publishes its review of the 2007 Summer Floods, the Government quango has suddenly pulled the plug on its commitment to fund £20k per year to the National Flood Forum.

 

"One of the key findings of the review is to improve awareness and communication with those at risk" says NFF’s National Co-ordinator Mary Dhonau. "It is ironic and hugely disappointing that they should let so many people down and end the support to the very organisation set up to deliver the Government’s number one priority". Mary was also shocked to receive the news via a text on her mobile phone. "It came in while I was taking part in a BBC debate on flooding. It seems their findings to improve communication are correct!"

 

The National Flood Forum (NFF) is a charity set up by people who have suffered the distress caused by floods. It provides invaluable support and advice to people at risk and to those who have flooded. It currently represents well over 100 community groups across the UK and helps build the connection between local Environment Agency teams and the people they serve.

 

"From the grassroots level, I can tell you most of the people I hear from are totally confused by who’s in charge and where to get the advice and help they so desperately need. Managing floods is a very complex issue, needing clear and simple messages. We help make the link and ensure people get the support they need before, during and after a flood".

 

Many letters of support were sent to the NFF by local Environment Agency teams whose job it is to engage with their communities. "It appears the staff at the sharp end understand and appreciate the help and support the NFF provide far better than a few policy pen pushers in their ivory towers", reflects Mary Dhonau. "This is a sad indictment of a body that is supposedly there to provide a public service".

 

NFF Chairman Brendan Glynane said "It is sad that a few decision makers in the Environment Agency seem to be so out of touch with their staff and the people they work for, especially when others in Defra, the Association of British Insurers (ABI), Local Authorities, Water Companies and indeed local Environment Agency teams clearly recognise the benefits the NFF can bring to partnership working on behalf of communities. It seems the Environment Agency is failing to understand the very business they are trying to manage. Its all very well having lots of qualified engineers but if they can’t begin to get their messages across, they might just as well go back home. The NFF has helped the process and we will continue to work on behalf of flood risk communities".

Ends

Mary Dhonau national coordinator mob 07754592534

Brendan Glynane Chairman 07961533083

 

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