News of a wide-ranging review of the Environment Agency and Natural England announced by Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, will spread alarm across staff working in the sector. With the Government’s fixation on cost cutting, UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is warning that cost must not come before public safety and protecting family homes.
UNISON National Officer for the Environment Agency, Matthew Lay said:
“ Our members working for the Environment Agency will be deeply concerned by the Minister’s statement. Staff in the Agency have worked day and night to keep communities safe and prevent flooding damage. They have worked tirelessly to support those devastated by the aftermath and now we are left with the Government questioning the very existence of the body that has done such sterling work over the past year and beyond.
“Members will be alarmed about talk of affordability following the significant cuts already imposed and the threat of possible privatisation of key services. The Government have been keen to praise the hard work of members in the Agency, let’s hope those words are not hollow.”