Chris Smith has form - corruption within the Environment Agency

Harry Beckhough tony at
Wed Feb 5 13:14:53 GMT 2014

On Monday, 3 February 2014, 18:21,
A question I would add to this is that I am lead 
to understand that ALL of the dredging equipment 
was scrapped for almost zero value by the EA when 
they took over some 20 years ago.
If true then this MUST be investigated and those 
responsible prosecuted for malfeasance or theft from the public purse.

As usual, Mr Walker, I won't hold my breath 
waiting for you to get your thumbs out of your 
rectum to do something about this and the 
appalling revelations below about the EA, as I 
know you are scared stiff of any confrontation 
and actually looking after your constituent's 
concerns, and will avoid effecting any meaningful 
work at all costs. Just look at the relative 
figures in the table and then at the performance of this huge army!
National EA Land Area (km2) Coastline (km) Population Staff Budget
England (exc Wales/Scotland) 130,395 12,429 53 million 11,200 £1.2B
United States EPA 9,826,675 19,924 313.9 million 15,913 £4.8B
Canadian EA 9,984,670 202,080 34.9 million 6,800 £0.52B
Below 5 EU EAs COMBINED 1,608,777 17,774 169.9 million 3,677 £0.82B
Maybe it is time YOU were Tim Yeo'd by the constituency!

Nicholas K. Chance

the Environment Agency - Experiences from EA Insiders

Environment Agency Insiders

    * Henry
    * Exposing the internal waste of tax payer 
and licence payer funds, abuse of working/flexi 
time and annual leave by staff members, 
mismanagement by senior and line managers, and 
the victimisation and harassment of licence holders and operators.

Last posts


Agency One of Biggest in the World?
Officers still abusing working/flexi time and annual leave
Environment Agency Staff Experiences #4
Agency's ~7,000 Vehicles
Agency blamed over floods
on the grapevine inside the EA
Alert Given AFTER Flooding Had Commenced
Environment Agency Whistleblower
Agency Denying Abuses
Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
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Agency One of Biggest in the World?

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
National EA Land Area (km2) Coastline (km) Population Staff Budget
England (exc Wales/Scotland) 130,395 12,429 53 million 11,200 £1.2B
United States EPA 9,826,675 19,924 313.9 million 15,913 £4.8B
Canadian EA 9,984,670 202,080 34.9 million 6,800 £0.52B
Below 5 EU EAs COMBINED 1,608,777 17,774 169.9 million 3,677 £0.82B
Denmark 43,094 7,314 5.6 million 450 £103m
France 674,843 4,853 65 million 820 £540m
Germany 357,021 2,389 81 million 1,400 £84m
Sweden 449,964 3,218 9.5 million 530 £33m
Austria 83,855 0 8.5 million 477 £36m
Although not a perfect like-for-like comparison, 
it does put the size of our Environment Agency in 
perspective - so what choices are you talking 
about Lord Smith, because it appears you receive 
more than enough to carry out the duties you have 
been given. Maybe if you took care of the large 
scale abuse/waste by staff, and the mismanagement 
by senior and line managers, you might find you 
have more than enough to protect "town and country".
References below - all Environment Agencies have 
very similar duties: environmental protection, 
water resource management, severe weather 
monitoring, ecology, sustainable development, 
climate change adaptation, waste regulations, 
environmental planning, air quality and 
pollution, general pollution monitoring and 
enforcement, fisheries, navigation, flood and 
coastal management and major industry regulation. 
Some, like the French, US and Canadian EAs have 
additional duties such as management of energy 
industry, which in the UK falls under DECC.
In the UK, as in other countries, there are also 
other bodies responsible for flood management, 
including the local councils and emergency 
services - 
councils deal with flooding?
England's EA is almost the size of the Canadian, 
Danish, French, German, Swedish and Austrian EAs 
COMBINED! Going by these statistics, it would 
appear that the Environment Agency is overstaffed 
by around 9,000 and has a budget that appears to be £0.5-1 billion too much.
This, along with what I and others have 
experienced, highlights the dire need for an 
indepth analysis and review of the 
<>Environment Agency 
with the aim of restructuring the body to ensure 
that tax payer money is being spent effectively.
Environment Agency | 
Federal Environment Agency | 
Energy & Environment Agency | 
EPA | 
EA | 
EPA | 
of countries by length of coastline | 
<>US EPA| 
<>Environment Canada

Officers still abusing working/flexi time and annual leave

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
Thanks to my very loyal colleague who still works 
inside the 
Agency (although also disillusioned by it all), I 
now have a copy of the annual leave record cards 
used by staff. This is kept by the staff member, 
completed by the staff member and signed by the 
line manager. As exposed in an earlier post, this 
system is regularly abused by significant numbers 
of staff members, including line management. 
Despite staff only being entitled to 25 to 30 
days annual leave (plus additional flexi days - 
if they put in the hours), I have witnessed, and 
my loyal internal friends still attest to, many 
staff taking far in excess of these entitlements 
- as many as three months in some instances.
Working hours are similarly logged on a simple 
spreadsheet and updated to the IBIS system by the 
staff members themselves (there has been 
discussions about the money wasted on this 
archaic system in the news). Apparently, abuse of 
this system is also continuing, despite the 
recent announcement of cuts. Again, as mentioned 
in earlier posts, I have witnessed staff come in 
at 10am and go home at 3pm and still record that 
they worked 9am to 5pm (7am to 3pm, 10am to 6pm, 
etc). Other abuses still apparently continue, 
such as field staff (especially Environment 
Officers) claiming to carry out site/incident 
visits, but in actual fact going home, going 
shopping and carrying out other domestic 
activities whilst claiming to be working, staff 
with home working privileges who do anything but, 
as well as claiming back higher mileage expenses 
than what they actually incur - I remember one 
Officer who claimed to be making an additional 
£90-100 per month through logging extra mileage.
Hopefully, this blog will continue to paint a 
picture of the actual internal workings of the 
Environment Agency. It should help illustrate the 
amount of waste and mismanagement taking place. 
This is, of course, leaving out the bullying and 
harassment of staff members who don't tow the 
line and of operators who question our decisions.


Environment Agency Staff Experiences #4

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
In addition to the dozens of 
Agency staff experiences posted previously on 
this blog (see More Environment Agency Staff 
Experiences #1, 2 & 3), here are even more that 
have come in over the past few weeks:
Rick Blade: “I will never forget my team leader 
saying he "didnt really know how many team 
members he had as some had been on maternity 
leave so long, it had literally been years since he had seen them."”
Rick Blade: “My sympathies were always with the 
older guys marking time till their retirement, 
and hating every hour of form-filling, and 
desk-work-procedures that their river supervision 
job had been reduced to. One old timer said sadly 
to me once " See.. that gully there overflows now 
and then and needs keeping clean, or those houses 
will flood. When I`m gone no one will remember or 
will do it, on them dark nights." "Certainly not 
them lot" and he waved his hand, office-ward, 
toward the banks of new generation children sitting at their PCs, in the warm."
Rachel: “Completely agree with everything on 
here. I'm fed up of people saying they're 
stressed, not paid enough and too much to do, 
they don't know the meaning of the word stressed, 
are paid more than enough for what they do and 
can't possibly have too much to do if they only 
work 37 hours a week! This blog needs to go to 
the papers so the country can see where their 
money really goes. 1700 job cuts, the agency 
could manage perfectly well with half the staff 
if people actually worked a full week. Claiming a 
12 day for sitting on a train and having dinner 
paid for is disgusting. I know people who work in 
a different office twice a week and claim for 
travel time, they do not work on the train so 
effectively work a four day week. Not even that 
as they have enough flexi to finish at 3 on a 
Friday. We need to change this! I appreciate not 
all staff are like this but too many are.”
Steve: “Fact since the NRA was merged with others 
the flood defence / operational side of the EA 
has been over policed by the tree huggers from 
with in. fact water voles have more rights than 
people or property. Leaving rivers to self clean 
is absolute rubbish rivers need to be maintained 
and dredged to maintain / increase the amount of 
water contained hence eleviating the risk of out 
of bank flooding. As for not having enough money 
to carry out works there is more than enough as 
often at the end of year money is wasted on 
anything just to get it out of the door because 
if it's not spent you will have your budget 
slashed next year. its a joke the EA IS TOP HEAVY 
and does not have enough operatives on the coal 
face and those who are are demotivated and lazy. 
I my self has witnessed operational staff 
painting offices booking their time to an 
emergency flood defence code. Overtime being 
booked and not worked. I could write a book on 
what I,ve seen from with in and one final point 
how many flood defences could of been built with 
the amount and cost of change projects over the years!!”
EO: “2 years ive been working here and everything 
you say on this blog rings true for me. it is soo 
demotivating watching others come in late and 
leave early but always have enough for flexidays. 
i hope things get sorted soon or ill be looking 
for a new job with more motivated people. good job henry for bringing out.”
Stuck: “Speaking as an insider myself I share the 
same concerns BUT where else can one get a job 
with these perks. As much as I hate the wasteful 
culture its tolerable for the perks. Wish I had 
never joined that way I would never have been 
indoctrinated and wouldn't know about these 
privileges. Morals or money? With bills, I choose the money.”
Ariston: "Make no mistake - the abuse of 
flexi-time and working from home (a misnomer if 
ever I heard one) is just as prevalent in regions 
other than those you've mentioned. And that's 
coming from someone who's been there for only a 
short time. As you have pointed out, the majority 
of staff are hard-working and dedicated to their 
jobs, yet like anything, it is those staff that 
abuse their position that are conspicuous. 
Disgusting. And I too experienced discrimination 
in my interview yet somehow was offered the job. 
A very strange apple is the EA - and one that's perhaps rotten to the core."
Wasteman: "I worked for the EA for just under 2 
years after leaving university. I completely 
agree with this post; I found it exasperating 
watching other members of my team flouting the 
flexitime 'rules'. With regard to working from 
home, I would also question exactly how much work 
can be done when some staff in my office would 
work at home with their young children. My 
opinion of the recently announced staff cuts is 
that they should provide an incentive to the 
work-shy officers and staff of the EA to increase 
their efforts. The EA has a difficult job to do 
in many areas, and this is made harder and more 
galling when members of teams so openly abuse 
their benefits. I was lucky enough to work in a 
team with some excellent officers who would work 
until the job was done rather than until they had 
completed 37.5 hours in a week. However, more 
often than not this meant that they would end up 
working harder to account for the shortcomings of their colleagues."

Agency's ~7,000 Vehicles

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
Interesting trivia on number of 
Agency vehicles from the 
Blog, which even I didn't know: "To carry out its 
field duties, the EA operates a fleet of 
company cars funded on contract hire with full 
maintenance (at high expense, along with the 
documented abuse of the mileage claim back system 
highlighted in this blog), with an additional 
1,920 badged 4x4s. That's nearly 7,000 vehicles 
(plus trucks) - that's more than one official 
vehicle for every two employees... which does seem quite high - no?"
"Drivers of leased vehicles at the EA are paid a 
mileage rate and are not issued with fuel cards. 
This makes it very difficult for the EA to 
capture and analyse mileage data on each vehicle 
at the end of its contract, as it is recorded on 
a driver basis, rather than a vehicle basis" - 
resulting in abuse of the mileage system when 
staff over-report business mileage primarily by 
claiming expenses on personal trips/exaggerating business miles.
More money seems to be spent on high staff 
salaries, inefficient systems, unnecessary 
vehicles and toys, lost work time from system 
abuses, and excess number of managers/"specialists" than on flood defences!
Alan Blenkhorn makes a good point in the 
comments: "The Environment Agency was formed in 
1996, so less than 20 years old. In almost every 
one of those years, the agency has been mired in 
controversy - the short flight debacle, flood 
defence failings, management bonuses, ad 
infinitum. The agency just does not work, so why 
won't this government do the right thing and reform it?"

Agency blamed over floods

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
With recent "revelations" into the mismanagement 
of rivers in the South-east, which has no doubt 
exacerbated the flooding situation there, it 
would be prudent for MPs, local communities and 
businesses to take this opportunity to heed the 
insider experiences raised by numerous ex and 
current serving Environment Agency staff here, 
and elsewhere. These issues concerning 
mismanagement, poor training, questionable staff 
practices, etc. are far more interwoven in all 
areas of the organisation, but seldom come to 
light because of the fear, by good staff, 
operators and others affected, of the negative backlash.
As "we" continue to point out, a thorough review 
into the organisation, right down to the 
day-to-day operations and activities of 
individual teams is essential to identify, 
isolate and correct these ever growing problems. 
This has yet to be done since its inception - 
that is, the haphazard integration aka slamming 
together of the original bodies that now hold the name of "Environment Agency"
The historical and current performance of the 
Environment Agency has proven that it's current 
structure, management and operational activities 
are not fit for purpose, and will continue to be 
a blackhole for public funds, as well as a drag 
on economic activities that the organisation 
regulates/protects - from flooding all the way 
through to the numerous activities it regulates.
This needs to be dealt with before it drops back 
under the radar, where these problems will lurk, 
until another catastrophe reveals these failings again!
<>BBC News - 
Environment Agency blamed over floods

found £31million for a BIRD SANCTUARY but won't 
pay £5million to dredge the river'
Agency flood response criticised by MPs
blasts 'pathetic' Environment Agency over flooding chaos on Somerset Levels
will ease flooding in Somerset Levels, admits Environment Agency boss

on the grapevine inside the EA

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
Sources have informed me that the most senior of 
management inside the 
Agency have now begun an investigation into the 
issues raised here, and by others elsewhere 
(including from former and current serving 
Environment Agency staff). I can only hope that 
these issues are thoroughly exposed and dealt 
with. This is the very least that can be expected 
from a publicly funded organisation.
Whether this will fully resolve these issues, only time will tell!

Alert Given AFTER Flooding Had Commenced

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
I recently posted about the slow response from 
the Environment Agency during December's floods - 
seems I was onto something: 
Agency Confirms Alert Was Given After Flooding 
Had Commenced. Could problems with flood level 
monitoring equipment have happened elsewhere 
during the floods, subsequently reducing 
residents preparedness and impacting potential 
responses? Why weren't the Flood Officers aware 
of this issue and why did the 
Agency not act accordingly to this information?
It would be good to hear from people affected to 
see what they thought of the Environment Agency's 
response to the recent floods - it appears to me, 
and many others observing the news, that other 
emergency and council services were already on 
the ball at least a day or two before the Environment Agency.

Environment Agency Whistleblower

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
Even more 
Agency Whistleblowers blowing the lid:


Agency Denying Abuses

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
It is becoming clear from news reports into these 
issues at the Environment Agency that they have 
decided to use the denial strategy. I spent the 
last six months of my employment within the EA 
raising these issues to senior management who 
found it more convenient to sweep it under the 
carpet - the EA is VERY cautious about it's PR. 
Even earlier than this I questioned these 
practices (abuse of flexi time/holiday system, 
the lack of oversight/action by team leaders, 
along with the questionable practices by a number 
of Environment Officers - racial profiling, 
boosting of incidents rates and regulatory 
tactics that amounted to bullying/harassment of operators).
Since that time, friends still inside have 
commented that these practices are still 
continuing unabated. Why? Others have finally 
come out in support and given their experiences. 
These issues are predominantly in front-line 
positions - Environmental Management (Environment 
Officers/Team leaders) and in the Flood 
Management (Flood Officers/Team leaders) teams. 
There is practically NO oversight of the 
activities of individuals in these areas. There 
is EXCESSIVE POWERS and FREEDOM to do whatever 
they feel, which has resulted in this astonishing abuse and waste.
I need not mention the CUSHY Grade 5 jobbers 
earning £31k-40k+ with lots of extras on top, but 
exclaim how easy they have it with little real 
work to do, absolutely ZERO oversight (even 
compared to grade 3/4 EOs and FOs) and with little frontline duties.
total, the Environment Agency’s current profile 
contains 11,915 staff. Grades 4 and 5 comprise 
the majority of Environment Agency staff with 52% 
of staff between them. Only 1.2% of staff is in 
the highest grade group (Executive Managers). The 
EA bulges at the middle with staff that claim to 
be specialists who are unable to actually work on 
the frontline - I and many others have 
experienced this and continue to expose this fundamental weakness.
These issues have been raised to the relevant MPs 
and Executives, yet even these most senior of 
people still have not taken this as an 
opportunity to review these areas and confirm for 
themselves, or they have chosen to ignore the 
issues in order to avoid embarrassment.
How can one raise formal complaints (as happened 
internally), if it is the very same people who 
are in close cahoots with the perpetrators, and 
ultimately responsible for the current system that is being abused?

Environment Agency Staff Experiences #3

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
We have even more EA staff members posting their experiences:
Waterman comments: "25 years in flood risk and 
drainage with EA and predecessors and I recognise 
many of the administrative failings. As a 
manager,to challenge staff abuse of systems is 
often such an HR struggle due to the complex 
process with little prospect of an effective 
outcome. As a result lazy so and so's continue to 
get away with it. As a TL in Devon I took on a 
team where I was told by my staff that I couldn't 
make them go on standby, they had a right to 
their 13 flexi days. Didn't have to let me know 
where they were or what they were doing, claimed 
harassment when I rang to contact them for 
operational needs and bullied more compliant 
colleagues. The organisation is tick box and 
process obsessed to the point where it is not 
possible to make common sense decisions. Someone 
needs to tell the emperor that he is naked!"
Waster comments: "I was an EA officer for 10 
years and during that time no-one ever verified 
my time recording - it was an admin task that was 
bodged together every fortnight . The IBIS system 
was painful to use and on ocasion took a couple 
of hours to populate with useless data. All so 
someone in a higher paid position could analyse 
the useless data for useless reporting? Similarly 
no -one ever verified my mileage claims or 
compared it against the time recording . In the 
'good old days' when you were allowed to use your 
own vehicle and reclaim mileage it would have 
been easy to rack up significant extra mileage 
claims - payback on lease car rates would make 
£90-£100 per month very difficult 
though.....seems doubtful. The flexible working 
regime is something i do miss - and with no real 
monitoring of comings and goings it was ripe for 
abuse(should you be so inclined) . For those of 
us who worked hard it was soul destroying 
watching some of the staff cruise in and out at 
will and still take their allocation of 13 days 
flexi per year - despite never managing a 37.5 hr 
week.. What isnt mentioned is the Working From 
Home phenomena that is supported by the EA. Some 
staff are literally raising families while 
supposedly WFH. Attending the office 1 day a week 
(sometimes) while working at home with 2 under 
5's for the other 3/4 days. Staff unable to 
attend incidents at regulated sites because they 
cant be contacted - as they at school with the 
kids or in the shops... yep. There are great, 
hard-working and commited people at the EA- some 
are fantastic - and i guess you would find this 
in any organisation of this size. But all the 
above is common knowledge/ a joke within the 
organisation and change is required."

Environment Agency Review

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
The recent 
into the Environment Agency and Natural England 
concluded that both bodies should be retained as 
separate public bodies with separate purposes and 
functions; however, it also concluded that both 
bodies should continue to reform how they deliver 
their services to their customers and drive further efficiencies.
My experience of working within the EA, which has 
also been corroborated by other ex-EA staff here 
and elsewhere, has left me feeling that at 
present (still early), these efficiencies have 
failed to materialise. Two of the primary issues 
identified by many working inside the EA and many 
who have regular dealings with the EA is that of 
poor staff oversight/questionable working 
practices and lack of consistency from one region 
to another, and even one area office to another.
Any future reviews should concentrate on these 
man management issues - improving management 
oversight, reducing abuse of the flexi and 
holiday system, which currently lacks any audit 
trails, oversight or consistency, the way in 
which manpower is put to use, particularly Flood 
and Environment Officers, and finally the 
consistency in information and processes from one region to another.
With the increasing frequency of flood incidents 
and reduced funding for key operations, it is 
more essential now than ever, that staff abuses 
of the current working system be brought back 
under control, and that such efforts be 
transparent to the general public. One must ask 
the question of whether the impact of recent 
floods could have been managed better had these 
issues been taken care of earlier.
EDIT: I would like to emphasis that my working 
experience inside the Environment Agency, and 
that of others posting similar experiences, is 
solely exclusive to the Environment Management 
(specifically Environment Officers/Team Leaders) 
and Flood Management (specifically Flood 
Officers/Team Leaders) in the North West, 
Yorkshire & North East, Anglian and Midlands 
Region of the EA. This is where the 
flexitime/holiday abuse is and where 
irregularities/mismanagement occur. I have 
limited experiences within other functions.
This should help the EA avoid these recent 
problems (just a small number of issues that have become public):
waste dump trial: Nigel and Phillip England cleared
criticised for last-minute withdrawal of prosecution against WEEE company
Waste ‘thrilled’ as agency drops export case
drops export case against Atlantic Paper
Agency's 'rushed' prosecution fails
Agency Fails to Investigate Fish Kills
£152 licence that has now cost the taxpayer ~£611,000
bearing anger about fact defences hadnt been 
raised throughout Reedness as Swinefleet which escaped flooding
Albans MP criticises Environment Agency over management of Appspond Lane site
and left outside an organisation I know inside out
MP Bob Neill calls for review into Environmental 
Agency’s control over ‘unsightly’ Waste4Fuel site
Agency challenged over Barton permit
more Hydropower omnishambles as Environment 
Agency ducks decision to protect our rivers
million Devon Environment Agency case ends with fine of just £1,000
slam Environment Agency over flood protection
Braunton continues to clean up after floods the 
Environment Agency defends new flood defence scheme
to speak out about Somerset Levels flood defence failings
residents and councillors asked Environment 
Agency officers questions about the River Cray
questions equestrian tyre 'scam' trial

& Unions Sensationalising Job Cuts

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
The media and unions are over sensationalising an 
older interview that the ENDS magazine did with 
Paul Leinster back in October 2013. There are 
still valid points in this post, so I will keep it up.
The Environment Agency has used these terrible 
times to make a political statement about the job 
cuts announced a few months ago. Having worked 
inside the Environment Agency, I understand the 
internal workings. Using the devastating floods 
and atrocious (abnormal) weather as an 
opportunity for political manoeuvring is aberrant 
and disgraceful, especially whilst peoples lives 
are at risk. This is an arms length body that 
SHOULD NOT be making politically loaded 
statements. As the original report suggests, 
these cuts will likely fall in a number of areas 
and DOES NOT have to be in flooding, but flood 
"staffing" is one possible area. Considering the 
staffing level of the Environment Agency, it 
would seem appropriate that funds be 
redistributed from non-essential services and 
operations to flood defence assets, and that the 
organisation becomes much leaner, just as every 
other government department must do - any other 
course of action will be an act of woeful 
dissociation from it's primary duties.
Let us not forget the abhorrent standard of 
working practices by a large proportion of staff, 
already outlined here by other EA staff members and myself.
I am happy answering media questions by email: 
<mailto:henry at>henry at 

flooding: Environment Agency to cut hundreds of jobs

Agency Response to Recent Floods - Too Little, Too Late

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
One theme I have been picking up on speaking to 
people affected by this month's flooding and from 
what I could observe from recent media coverage, 
a picture is beginning to emerge that the 
Environment Agency acted too little, too late. 
Although there was full deployment and immediate 
response from other emergency services (as 
expected), there was a somewhat absent presence 
of Environment Agency staff on the streets during 
the early phases, as evidenced by new media 
photographs and videos. It was only several hours 
after the event that the EA seems to have finally 
gotten around to publicly responding to the 
incident, and a further day or so until there was 
full mobilisation on the streets during the recovery.
This is an organisation whose significant purpose 
is dealing with flooding (among more minor 
roles), with over 11,200 staff (at current levels 
before minimum cuts) and it seems to have been 
caught sleeping at the wheel. I could be wrong, 
and perhaps the feedback I have received from 
people effected is exaggerated, but I don't 
believe I that's the case. I am more than aware 
of many EA staff who shun standby duties, which 
significantly depletes manpower when dealing with 
these emergencies - this is something not 
tolerated by their emergency service 
counterparts, who have higher esteem for doing their duty.
Now that the worst is over, it's not too 
surprising to see three, four or more EA staff 
standing around to pick up on the afterglow of 
positive PR, which should rightfully go to their 
emergency service counterparts. It is not too 
difficult to see in many news media photographs 
several EA staff standing with hands in pockets doing nothing. Why? Publicity.
Of course, for those familiar with this blog and 
the experiences I/other ex-EA staff have posted, 
you won't be surprised if it turns out that the 
Environment Agency has in fact failed to act 
promptly in carrying out its duties.
UPDATE 02/01/14: Thanks to Owen Paterson, no 
doubt, the EA has finally stepped up its game and 
began doing something. As Anne Alkam has 
commented, once the floods are over (currently 
looking like we haven't faced the worst of it 
yet) this should leave the Secretary of State for 
the Environment with no other option but to 
investigate the management of flood assets and procedures.

Agency Flood Defence Assets - Manipulation of 
Figures - Are they fit for purpose?

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
I'd like to extend my thoughts to those who have 
been impacted by the devastating floods hitting 
our nation over this festive season. My thoughts 
especially go out to the brave men and women 
working in our emergency services and the "very" 
few Environment Agency staff who are actually 
doing their job and who are helping to alleviate the impacts
My experiences working in, combined with a recent 
comment from a EA staff members, has left me 
wondering whether these recent flood incidents 
have been exasperated due to mismanagement and 
internal abuse, especially by senior managers and 
team leaders, of flood assets funded and built to 
minimise the effects of these flood incidents - here he states:
"In the Region I work in, over the last 5 - 10 
years KPI (key performance indicators - traffic 
light system) targets have been met with a green 
light, giving the impression to the public and 
the Agency bosses / government that all its 
assets are in good working order and as the KPI % 
increased each year the EA appeared to be doing a 
sterling job by improving the condition of its 
assets each year. This is however far from what 
was really going on. The figures where being 
manipulated so bosses could claim to be meeting 
there targets / IPP performance and perhaps as a 
result of this a promotion / pay rise, actually a 
lot of assets that failing where being passed as 
fit for purpose. I'm sure the tax paying public a 
those relying on these assets would be appalled by this attitude."
As another EA member put it, "it doesn't help 
that 99% of the staff, mostly Environment and 
Flood Officers, refuse to do standby or volunteer 
to assist with flooding emergencies. This is 
despite it being in their contract. It leaves us 
undermanned and ill prepared, but managers won't 
do anything about but claim they need to employ 
more staff. Really, management just want to expand their kingdoms"
I have personal experience of Environment Agency 
team leaders and senior managers pressurising 
staff to exaggerate incidents and EA mitigation 
activities. I have also heard Flood Officers 
discuss being pressurised to under report 
problems they experience on our flood defence 
networks. I think these are key issues that 
should be looked into during the next review in 
addition to what has already been expressed 
previously in this blog and by others.

Officers Collaborating Statements / Exaggerating Offences

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
It is common practice for Environment Officers to 
collaborate their statements when compiling a 
case against an offender. Common practice is for 
one Environment Officer to take all the notes, 
and then allow other Officers present to copy 
these notes once back at the office. Another 
common practice is for Environment Officers to 
write down notes in a normal notepad so that 
later a more convincing statement can be written 
back at the office that will help lead to a 
successful case. These practices should not be 
carried out by any law enforcement agency, but 
are standard practices in the Environment Agency.
Other practices are the exaggeration of 
'environmental crimes' to justify prosecution 
cases that are otherwise not in the interests of 
the public. This is done by reclassifying 
pollutants and/or wastes as different substances 
other than present, such as making out hazardous 
properties that were not present, or by claiming 
a full environmental permit was required whereby 
only an exemption would have been needed. Other 
exaggerations include overstating financial 
benefits obtained, stating environmental impacts 
that were not the case and by not including 
extenuating circumstances at the time of the 
'offence'. Unfortunately, many of the 
'environmental offenders' we deal with are small 
business/sole operators who have little knowledge 
or funds to fight back, and are all too willing 
to accept full blame in order to avoid greater penalties.
It is also common for Environment Officers to 
fail to follow through on all leads, instead 
choosing to allow their prejudgements to decide 
on how they conduct investigations, typically 
resulting in the cases being built up against the 
wrong business/person, which later has to be 
dropped when old evidence surfaces. These go 
unreported as they do not reach court, but 
accounts for a large waste of Environment Agency 
resources (time, funds, etc) and an additional 
cost to the businesses they regulate.
These are hard for people to prove against, 
because they take place back at the office when 
the case is being put together so that any 
inconsistencies can be 'ironed' out and for 
counter evidence to be removed (there are no 
processes or oversight on how evidence is stored 
and treated during the early stages of an 
investigation, we have our own cameras, use 
scraps of paper and own storage where we can 
decide on what we decide to present in a case).
There have been numerous cases whereby 
Environment Officers have entered land without 
permission from the landowner and without leaving 
a Notice of Powers and Rights when collecting 
evidence, but have then later, back in the 
office, completed this important document and 
destroyed the recipients half. Other times, 
Environment Officers leave the Notice where it 
can easily be lost, damaged and removed prior to 
the landowner seeing it. This leaves the 
landowner unaware of what has taken place or of their rights.
These pose significant problems for these people 
and businesses, as their legal teams then do not 
have the full picture and have to rely on what 
the prosecution provides (from the Environment 
Agency), which is obviously incomplete. In most 
cases, 'offenders' are happy to quickly remediate 
problems, but Environment Officers are unlikely 
to report this in their cases. As the people and 
businesses were unaware or did not anticipate 
these exaggerations, they never had the foresight 
to gather their own evidence to prove against the accusations.
This is a problem that seldom is highlighted, as 
it provides a good source of income and PR for the Environment Agency.

working time and holiday abuse by Environment Officers

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
I'm sure most people are used to working a 
contracted number of hours per week and receiving 
x amount of days off per year. There isn't 
usually much scope of working less hours without 
being paid less, or receiving more time off work without a special reason.
That's true, that is, if you didn't work for the 
Environment Agency. Here we are entrusted to log 
our own hours without oversight, holidays taken 
off are supposed to be recorded on a piece of 
card with a signature from management for 
approval, but this rarely happens. What does all 
this mean? Environment Agency employees 
(particularly Environment Officers) regularly 
come in later then they log down, leave much 
earlier than they report and take many more days 
off as annual leave than their entitlement.
I've seen fellow colleagues who have taken off as 
much as 8-12 weeks off work, fully paid, not as 
sick, but all as annual leave, despite only being 
contracted to 27 days plus flexidays. I've seen 
colleagues work less than 30 hours per week, who 
log down on their time sheets 37-40 hours. But 
what about line management I hear you ask? They 
never pay attention, and those that do turn a blind eye to it.
On a daily basis, I see fellow Environment Agency 
employees putting they work an extra 1-3 hours 
per day so that their time sheets match their 
contracted hours, so many of us who are 
'supposed' to be doing our 37 hours per week are 
in fact doing as little as 30 hours per week. Not 
only that, but we can just take a day off, get 
the wink from our management and claim it as 
annual leave or a flexi-day, but in fact, it's 
never logged. You just complete your time sheet as if you worked that day.
Better yet, you want to take off 9 days next 
month for that holday to Ibiza, but you only have 
8 'official' days leave, no probs, log down an 
extra hour worked per day (but don't work it) and 
hey presto, an extra flexi day off giving you 9. 
Don't worry about line management, if they 
'somehow' find out, most will overlook it.
This practice is well known internally and 
accepted as the norm, but just don't talk about 
it, because no-one likes a tell all. I've seen it 
raised and the person raising it be shot down and 
destroyed. No one wants the party spoiled, so you just join in.
Ask yourself this, as a tax payer or licence 
payer whose money pays our salaries, how do you 
feel that we not only get better security and 
more money than you, but also literally get to 
choose how many hours we work and how many days 
holiday we can have, and all with minimal 
oversight? Don't forget, most of us are 
regulatory officers with many powers who tell you 
what to do, yet we flout our own rules - it's the 
'do as I say, not as I do' syndrome.

Environment Agency Staff Experiences #2

Inside the Environment Agency 2014 - Exposing the Waste
Andy "In the Region I work in, over the last 5 - 
10 years KPI (key performance indicators - 
traffic light system) targets have been met with 
a green light, giving the impression to the 
public and the Agency bosses / government that 
all its assets are in good working order and as 
the KPI % increased each year the EA appeared to 
be doing a sterling job by improving the 
condition of its assets each year. This is 
however far from what was really going on. The 
figures where being manipulated so bosses could 
claim to be meeting there targets / IPP 
performance and perhaps as a result of this a 
promotion / pay rise, actually a lot of assets 
that failing where being passed as fit for 
purpose. I'm sure the tax paying public a those 
relying on these assets would be appalled by this attitude."
Sickbag "Mark, it is a fair and valid point that 
EM in my experience are the worst offenders. The 
main issue is that the team leaders and the a lot 
of the Senior Management all came through the 
ranks. They are all very naïve and afraid to rock 
the boat, I remember one of our Grade 4 officers 
sat in on a Team Leaders meeting and challenged 
the Area Manager about "cooking the books" on HS 
figures and near misses. Apparently it made for a 
very uncomfortable meeting but afterwards two of 
the Team leaders approached the officer and 
thanked him for raising these points as they were 
"not allowed" to challenge the Area Manager. As 
you can imagine that Grade 4 was never invited 
back to sit in. As I stated earlier the 
government officials and Senior Management are 
part and parcel of the problem that exists at the EA."
EO John "It's simply a case of too many staff 
chasing too little work. It has been this was at 
least since I started in 2003. There is a real 
problem of overstaffing and misallocation of 
resources. This is why staff take excessive leave and fix time sheets."
Sickbag "Lets not forget the "working at home" 
brigade as well, I remember in my time at the EA 
it was known as "w*nking at home!". There used to 
be officers in my team who would work up to 2 
days at home, they would then complete their 
timesheets as started work at 08:00 and finished 
at 17:30. Management never checked and they were 
even allowed to claim flexi-time! When I raised 
this with management it was always brushed under 
the carpet, I have never seen as much shopping, 
parcel collecting from depots, dropping off 
duvets to be washed, or early finishes in my 
life. For those of us who live and work in the 
"real world" just imagine trying to get away with these issues with your boss!"
Sickbag "Mark, the problem is to many of the EA 
board and it's cohorts went to the same 
University and socialise in the same clubs as 
their masters in Government. The organisation is 
to big a "monster" for it to undergo any 
significant changes. I was speaking to some of my 
ex-colleagues the other night who were so happy 
about the "storm surge " on the east coast. Let 
them cut our budgets now, was the battle cry. As 
far as EO john's comments about to many staff 
chasing too little work, he obviously never 
worked in my EM team. 12 Officers but only three 
us would regularly attend NIRS, to convince the 
others to leave the office was like trying to 
pull teeth. When the management were ever 
challenged they would just ring their hands and 
plead ignorance or even admit they couldn't do 
anything about it as it was the norm! I had 
officers not attending fish kills because it was 
the weekend and they were out with their friends 
at the weekend when they were supposed to be on duty!"
John Green "If the taxpayers knew just how many 
millions of pounds the EA has wasted since it 
started on opening and shutting offices 
throughout the country they would be staggered 

.and we are not just talking here about the move 
from Rio to Horizon House in Bristol. They would 
also be outraged if they found out about the 
millions wasted on IT systems that never worked 
.and drove staff to distraction trying 
to operate them. For example, questions were 
asked in parliament about how the IBIS project 
was managed. Were the Area Flood Defence 
committees scrapped because some of the more 
astute members were asking too many penetrating 
questions about flood defence schemes that failed 
to work properly or were overspent by millions of 
pounds? We are talking here about the Jubilee 
Channel project on the Thames and many more 
besides. Were regional members of committees who 
were asking too many pertinent questions quietly 
removed ---- those ex-committee members reading 
this who were not re-appointed should think back and ask themselves why."
Ian "Good points John. Same up this end. Office 
move from Phoenix to Lateral in Leeds didn't save 
a penny because of the higher operating costs and 
the additional renovation costs of the move 
outweighed everything. Even had to pay a private 
car lot for staff parking, which wasted a 
significant sum. IT systems here are a joke. IBIS 
and other new systems have proven to be a failure 
with huge sums wasted. Flood defences are a whole 
other story. Tens, if not hundreds of millions 
wasted on poorly planned schemes that can't do the job they were created for."
Paul "Look around almost any of our offices. See 
the covert phone-users, the private emailers, the 
game-players, the asleep at their desk sorts - do 
as little as you can and get away with it; it's 
endemic, part of the national mindset and 
culture. Henry, kudos to you for having the guts to come out."
Danny K "Don't expect this blog to change 
anything any time soon. Nothing has changed in 
the last 10 years I have worked here. Same old 
faces, same old tactics and same old mistakes."
Anne Alkham "I hope as many politicians and 
journalists as possible will not only read but 
also take action in regards to the content of 
this excellent site. I also hope that members and 
former members of flood defence committees, 
RFERACS and REPACS will realise how, in some 
instances, the wool has been pulled over their 
eyes. The gross abuses of taxpayers’ money and 
bullying which have gone on for far too long are 
being exposed for the very first time by the 
brave person who instigated this blog
.and who I 
should add is not known to me. But in case anyone 
should get the wrong opinion many of those who 
work for the Environment Agency were - and still 
are - some of the finest, most dedicated and 
hard-working men and women you could ever hope to 
meet. I have stood beside them in some of the 
worst weather nature has ever thrown at us and 
seen them at great personal cost heroically 
struggle time after time to save communities from 
floods, pollution and other environmental 
hazards. Let us not beat about the bush some lost 
their lives and others their health because of 
the pressures they were placed under and the 
bullying atmosphere they were forced to work in. 
They can’t speak for themselves but I can speak 
on their behalf. As far as management is 
concerned so often it has been the case of Lions led by Donkeys."
Anne Alkham "I wonder what would happen to the 
salaries and bonuses of senior managers and 
directors if this were to happen? The Welsh EA 
operation has already been hived off, there have 
been job cuts and hundreds more to come and yet 
senior managers and directors still command huge 
salaries and bonuses
.some are earning more than 
the Prime Minister. Will we see them also taking 
job cuts and 20% reductions in their 
..I think not. If any do leave the 
parachute departure clauses in their contracts 
will no doubt ensure they are in clover for the 
rest of their lives

unlike staff “lower down the 
food chain” as I have heard them describe it. 
Those dedicated staff who have given a lifetime 
to the environment and to the Agency and who have 
first been humiliated and then robbed of their 
rightful redundancy payments before being sent 
packing will know what I mean. Those responsible 
will not care because they know what they have 
been up to
..but younger members of the EA take 
note will happen to you one day. Take a look 
at this site which shows what directors and 
senior managers have been earning
.and ask 
yourself are these salaries justified? 
John Green "The Environment Agency costs so much 
because its managers and directors spend 
taxpayers money as if it is going out of 
and on anything but the environment. For 
example they spent over £30,000 in Birmingham 
sponsoring the Gay Pride Festival. Check this out 
The MP Norman Baker who is now Home Office 
Minister was so concerned about the money being 
spent by EA staff and directors visiting the 
Henley Regatta and the prestigious Belfry Golf 
Hotel in the Midlands that he asked questions in 
Parliament. Check this out at:- 
What is more they did so with the knowledge of 
Civil Servants at MAFF/Defra who are supposed to 
be managing the quango from their sunny offices beside the River Thames."
Anne Alkham "When the Environment Agency started 
life in 1996 it inherited roughly speaking 35 
communications and Public Relations staff from 
the National Rivers Authority. They were based 
around the regions and in the head offices in 
Bristol and London. The NRA had a good media 
reputation and for the first few years so did the 
EA. But after the Millennium numbers were 
expanded rapidly to around 350 – a ten-fold 
increase. As the numbers of PR staff grew 
exponentially the reputation of the EA with the 
public & the media plummeted. This is not 
surprising because so many of the new recruits 
were inexperienced and of very poor quality. As 
was the case throughout the public sector at this 
time many were recruited more to peddle Labour 
party propaganda at the taxpayers expense rather 
than to protect the environment 
.a scandal which 
has never really been properly exposed by the media."
John Green "Some of the problems with the EA have 
their roots with the National Rivers Authority. 
At privatisation of the industry the water 
companies did a dirty deal and hived off most of 
the worst managers to the NRA. There many sat 
until they were over promoted when the NRA became 
the Environment Agency. Most were out of depth 
and resorted to bullying of staff because they 
knew no other way to manage. This all became an 
accepted part of the overall culture as the 
bullies recruited even more bullies in the image 
of themselves. Over the years that followed many 
first class EA employees were lost as they 
resigned bruised and battered from the mental beatings they received."
Anne Alkham "I hope those good and dedicated 
staff who lose their jobs with the EA in this 
latest round of culling ensure they receive what 
they are entitled to. Many of those who have been 
bullied out their jobs have left with nothing. 
Those who were given redundancy payments found 
that the amount they were promised was 
dramatically reduced at the last minute after 
they had agreed to leave and had signed the 
paperwork. Is this surprising? Ruth Cornish the 
former head of EA HR in Bristol said in a 
Guardian newspaper article on 28 May 2011 that 
when she worked for the Agency: “I was once 
incentivised to get rid of people more cheaply 
than they were legally entitled to
” Those who 
managed Ruth are still with the EA to the present 
day. There must surely be enough people in 
Bristol/London HQ and throughout the regions and 
areas who have suffered bullying at the EA for an 
enterprising firm of solicitors to consider it 
has a strong enough case to bring a class action 
against the Agency. This links refer to the 
John Green "In my time at the EA over 20 close 
colleagues were forced to leave because of 
bullying. The situation was terrible and there 
were tears in the toilets almost every day. Some 
of the better managers had breakdowns. But those 
responsible for the bullying moved onwards and 
upwards within the organisation to take salaries 
most taxpayers can only dream about. With the 
exception of a few stories in the ENDS report 
this is the first time the lid has been lifted on 
what has really been going on within the EA. It’s 
a great site and I hope other present and former 
members of the EA will use it to share their 
awful experiences. I hope journalists will also 
use it to launch an investigation that is long overdue."
Ella "Having left after many years service I 
decided to apply for a temporary position, got an 
interview which was a surprisingly very positive 
experience but didn't get the job. Some inside 
information revealed that I was put forward as 
first choice but... it was given to the managers 
wife. They obviously knew who they would award it 
to before the interviews took place, I would have 
loved to have made this public knowledge, at 
least I can now share thanks to this blog and 
join Anne in thanking the originator."
RR "Disgruntled traitor. You didn't belong here, get over it!"
You know who "This is ridiculous. As a trusted 
officer, I have too much to do to be worried 
about these stupid requests. Its only morons who 
have nothing better to do with their lives that send them in. Get over it."
Lisa "We're not all like this. I know it happens 
in some regions, but not the Midlands region where I operate from."
Lisa "I work in a water team now, but I agree 
that there used to be a problem consistency. I 
don't know how much this has changed in the waste 
teams now. I've heard problems in other regions, 
but not so many in mine (Midlands)."
Anne Alkham "As an ex-employee of the Environment 
Agency I can only commend the originator of this 
blog for the brave action they are taking in 
exposing a situation that has for far too long 
been hidden from the public eye. I urge 
politicians and all who believe in the 
environment to read very carefully what is being 
written here. A great deal of what is being said 
rings true and is not just the views of one 
disaffected employee. In my experience the EA 
management encourages a culture where bullying of 
staff and the public is rife. Anyone who 
complains is treated with total ruthlessness by 
the management despite the many years of service 
they may have given to the Agency and to the 
environment. In 2001 Alan Dalton who was a member 
of the Agency’s national board sent a 29 page 
dossier to Michael Meacher, the environment 
minister outlining cases of stress among 
employees and poor management practices. In my 
experience the situation after that time got 
worse and not better and it would seem continues until the present day."
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