They Just Don't Get It! Heavy Rain In The UK Shock!
Just how serially useless is the Environment Agency and the HarryPotteresque Minister for the Environment? Having just returned from an eventful round trip to the Canaries...The ship was really rocking "worst conditions in the Bay of Biscay for 100 years" and Captain Remo had the charts to prove it! However due respect to Royal Carribbean and the Independence of the Seas as it took 30 metre high waves in its stride and the side fin 6 metre stabilisers worked very well minimising the motion of the ocean but we still dropped Funchal Madiera to maintain the scheduled roundtrip to the Canary Islands...
The point of all this being that the ship was bult to meet extreme weather conditions and the Captain had all the resources and training to meet such extreme conditions. But what on earth is happening at Cockermouth?
Aptly named as yet again the Environment Agency is once again exposed at the serially useless fraudulent talking shop with few active bodies on the ground to marshall resources or tough enough to demand from DEFRA and the Government of the day substantial practical and financial resources to protect our own populations. This wholly top heavy impractal and serially useless orgnisation needs a bottom to top investigation. It's no secret that the top EA management see theirt tenure as a passport to the top jobs in the water industry - a classic case of jobs for the boys (and girls) which you the taxpayer happily fund. (OK water companies sue me...)
The reality is that unlike the USA where the National Guard can be mobilised in a moment we have to fall back on a mishmash of local, regional and voluntary sector resources. Cockermouth is now an insurance blackspot and few if any in the future will get full flood related insurance protection.
What financial and practical assistance is given by the insurance industry will have first been knocked back by the insurance company appointed so called independent loss adjusters. Few of those going through a living hell at the moment will think to appoint their own Loss Assessors to fight their corner and get a reasonable claim passed by the underwriters. Local Authorities will naturally hang back until the insurance payouts are completed or at least well advanced.
The Environment Agency has been working at full tilt, Press and PR people have been securing TV and Radio Interviews for bearded EA numpties in pristine new high viz jackets and just out of the box safety helmets. Weather bulletins promote the virtually useless Floodline Number which simply tells you the blinding obvious that your property is underwater or rather coated with raw sewage... forget about swine flu this is way more dangerous than any pandemic.
It's no secret that I worked with the Environmanrt Agency and put in at the end of my contract a detailed multipage critique "whistle blowing" if you like and additionally sent a hard copy to EA Head Office before my files were locally wiped off the EA computer.
Money was in my time during the year 2000, being wasted on a massive scale, little on practical projects but on image building and paper-based studies that would never see the light of day, in addition to pet projects devised by staff to keep themselves busy, when their original functiion had long since gone.
The man on the sluicegate,reed cutters, dredging and silt clearing all part of the old Nationasl Rivers Authority - all practical measures drastically cut back when the EA swallowed the NRA...
Cut all the silly non productive studies and pen pushers, massively pour practical resources and substantial money into flood defence, totally rethink cost saving plans whch curtailed NRA activities.
Hire complete with crew and catering staff the largest cruise ships afloat to be used as an immediate accommodation and feeding resource and to lessen the trauma of stress which will this week start to kick in and cost the NHS an untold amount of money. Tell Gordon Brown where to stick his sticking plaster funding and put £30 million immediately ie in gthe next three days (readily available from the CONTINGENCY FUND) into the area together with military logistics, engineers, Hire marine designers and shipyards in Finland to turn out bailey type bridges which they will take a fraction of the time to build andf deliver. Accommodation units - not caravans - to be sited locally.
But there again the EA knows all this and as senior political appointments only work in the short term, its more about posturing than practical life saving solutions. The rest of us should be weeping as Westminster just looks on slightly bemused...
For Publication CREDITLINE: Julian Bray MCIPR NUJ
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