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The Jubilee River story (0949) - Conclusions and 'What have I learned?'
In no particular order, and with much more still to add..............
'The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth' - anathema to the Environment Agency who as an organisation are simply unable to be honest!
They rely on flood events being random, sporadic and localised - and the opposition being fragmented and disorganised
Flooding and land drainage is a political football that many MPs try to steer clear of.
1) The EA are power hungry, know-it-all bullies who will not (actually dare not) admit their mistakes.
1a) Like many other organisations the EA are now short of money.............and being pruned at long last!
2) Due to cultural inadequacies - they will not listen and are thus demonstrably unable to learn and do better over time!
3) The Jubilee River is deteriorating fast and the shortcomings are still awaiting rectification.
4) EA watercourse maintenance gives priority to mowing grass instead of ensuring conveyance capacity.
5) The last thing that the EA wants is a Public Inquiry into any proposed scheme - or after a flood event.
6) If the EA has a problem - they use a 'spokesperson', shuffle people around and hide behind 'Corporate responsibility'
7) There are further piecemeal grandiose schemes in the pipeline - Beware!
8) Defra people keep their heads down (behind the sand bags)
9) Ministers do not know the truth.........and are unable to ask the right questions
10) As for the Big Society and the localism agenda - We pay for the EA - so will we have the power to ensure local watercourse maintenance? Unlikely
11) As for dredging and bed rise flooding - just ask for details about flood water conveyance capacity and wait for the excuses.
If the EA has no legal duty to maintain or improve conveyance capacity - then who does?
12) Why should ecology and biology get priority over drainage?
13) Thames sediment - now designated 'Hazardous Liquid Waste' - so whose fault is that? Aldermaston?
14) The EA lack expertise (and common sense) and thus fail the 'intelligent client' test..........
15) I suspect that the people at the top sit in their warm, dry, safe, remote offices - serviced by an entourage of sycophants/minions and with little understanding of reality. ('Yes Minister' - indistinguishable from reality?)
16) So the Minister rushes to Cornwall in November 2010 to sympathise about floods - but we had no Minister here in 2003. See Elliot Morley and Ministerial denial (this is the same Elliot Morley - ex MP and Minister - convicted of fraud and released from prison in 2011)
17) Government, Ministers, Defra and others in positions of power manipulate the terms of reference of Inquiries in order to avoid having to examine the real issues!
18) The EA do not know the word 'Sorry'
19) I have all the paperwork - but I cannot speak for the EA
20) Read my story to see just how devious, underhanded and slippery some of these people really are......
21) The EA no longer has Crown Immunity from prosecution! Corporate Manslaughter Act 2007 - EA lose Crown Immunity
22) In my opinion every large/expensive flood alleviation project should have a public inquiry for the following reasons:
a) To ensure that the proposal is formally documented, submitted and independently scrutinised by experts
b) To enable other interested parties to submit evidence, to put questions and to have the answers properly recorded.
c) To enable the historical record to be withdrawn from the file in the future in order to prove that the project was not not designed properly, not built in accordance with the design, did not perform as predicted by the hydraulic models or suffered predictable problems that were raised at the inquiry.
23) You really need to know the answers before you can ask the questions - otherwise you get ignored, fed with spurious rubbish, or meet a point blank refusal from the authorities to reply. My advice - lots of dogged determination and lateral thinking - and forget about being popular. By all means start by asking the questions at the lower levels, but don't hesitate to go to the top for answers - i.e. The Government Minister, the EA Chairman or even to the European Commission via your MEP.
24) EA Consultations - Question - when is a consultation not a consultation? Answer - When it is a noun and not a verb!
The consultation period is short and begins immediately prior to a holiday period
The consultation is discrete and without publicity
Hard copy response 'lost in post'
On-line responses only?
Very few responses
No final report published on consultation
Submitted evidence difficult to access
25) Flood Risk Management? - I say plan to reduce the probability of flooding by enabling conveyance capacity - and then consider the consequences.
26) Insurance is all about 'shared risk' but Environment Agency Flood Risk Management and flood mapping has enabled the insurance companies to target and discriminate against people at risk of flooding. The greedy bankers were exposed in 2008 - what about the insurance industry? Flood Re introduction - mid 2015
27) If they are able to obtain insurance, households at risk of flooding now have to pay increased insurance premiums and excesses - but see no reduction in the probability of flooding.
28) This fiasco (national land drainage infrastructure lacking maintenance) is somebody else's problem - all I need to do is continue publishing the truth.
29) Just consider how many organisations implement a policy of 'benign neglect' and hide behind a 'spokesperson'
30) Beware - The official EA web site changes quicker than the English Weather - and the history (audit trail) is erased at the press of a button!
31) History + development + climate change + flood defence mismanagement and neglect = increasing probability of flooding and higher flood levels.
32) I have a clear conscience - I did my best to make those in authority aware of the issues.
33) How much is the EA CEO paid?