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Sunday, 28 April 2013


Well, we weren't surprised that it's happened - but we were surprised at who's being got at - and - it also goes a fair way to explaining why press and broadcast stories about The Environment Agency have followed a pattern - they threatened us with libel 2 years ago.

Narrowboat World are made of sterner stuff than our local timorous press release publishers/broadcast professionals - and have been carrying the occasional news piece about Avoncliff. 

Narrowboat World got two libel threats after publishing a piece based in part on a post here - on the serious allegations ( including criminal actions ) made by the Avoncliff North Mill builders which were lodged with the Environment Agency in December 2011 and investigated by a senior EA official in 2012. The article concerned was a synopsis of the post here last week regarding The Baxendale Report - a report, we were told by the report author in the presence of the Environment Agency's operations director - that mostly confirmed our allegations. That was almost 1 year ago - in the intervening time between then and now - the EA have not advised us of any actions as a result of the report's findings and have blocked access to the report - a tactic they adopted with FoI when they lost the first Judicial Review over the Avoncliff water licences.

The lady below who's throwing around libel accusations -  if - she was doing her job competently must have been aware of the original blog post - since we get a sizable proportion of our regular site traffic (blog + web site) from the EA in both London and Bristol - as well as  regional offices. The EA have been subscribing to our Twitter feed since it started. Laura has never contacted us for any reason- let alone to complain or bully us to remove content .

Laura Gottelier | Senior Media Officer, Floods and Water - National Media Team
Environment Agency | 25th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4XL 
Mobile: 07771 387707  External: 0207 863 8642  Internal: 7 10 8642
Normal working days: Monday – Friday

We have taken down the post here - as this is customary in these cases and shows that we have some vestigial respect for The Environment Agency - if only because they have shown that they have little compunction splurging enormous amounts of public money defending their mistakes and wrongdoing - and £40K to a libel lawyer to achieve a chilling effect  is chicken feed compared to the overall bill for Avoncliff.

Edit - we are so "excercised" by the EA's activity in this matter that we've decided to ask them about how much of this sort of thing they indulge in.


  1. This is a bit odd, normally the source of the allegations is the first to get a take down request.

    That blog post didn't actually accuse a named individual with any of the allegations made in 2011 - but it did seem to say that principals at the EA were not dealing fully with the allegations that you say they acknowledged as essentially true which if it's a year down the line seems like fair comment.

    I hope she didn't say The Environment Agency will sue for libel - because - it can't.

    Looks like a freelance bullying expedition by a meejah studies graduate.

  2. Yes sod the EA name and shame, to waste this amount of time and public money, the officers at the top who have not put this right should also be held accountable.Has the license been determined yet ??

  3. Yes I agree put the post back up YOU DID NOT name the officers! THE EA named the officers you just put their letter in the public domain,maybe they will be more careful next time !!!

  4. Please note this is not the Environment Agency attempting to bully and harass a good publication.
    The Environment Agency is purely attempting to ensure openness and transparency in all its transactions.
    The Environment Agency is committed to work in a fair, reasonable and unbiased way.
    The Environment Agency is committed to act lawfully and to follow the EA Code of Conduct.

    Well that's the end of the fairy story.
    They have admiited acting illegally. They have breached their own code of conduct. They have deliberately withheld information in relation to a Freedom of Information Act enquiry, which was only released after the intervention of the Information Commissioners Office. They have told very varied versions of the truth, heavily edited. The have acted in a biased irrational and prejudiced manner. They have breached long established policies. They have created a policy which breaks a long standing right recognised under British Law, the Right of Appeal. They have withheld information from Members of Parliament.
    They have described things unequvicobly and in terms that can only be described as "lies". If something is a lie, what does it make the person telling them?

    It is what one would expect from a bully who is in the process of being humiliated.

    I believe the lady mentioned will go far, she is attempting to show she is proactive, months after the event, but it should get her a job in the Canal and Rivers Trust which is soon to absorb the discredited EA. You will see more of this as the rats leave the sinking ship, which of course will polute the rivers as it rots away.


Get it off yer chest - please keep it civil