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Monday, 28 July 2014

Another New Broom

Us yokels being occasionally behind the curve missed this....  After Liz Truss gets a promotion to Secretary of State at DEFRA - her first appointment ... the EA rather quietly gets a new chairperson.

Did we have a senior moment or was Chris Smith advertised last year to be leaving by June 2014 - and does the extension to September reveal a problem getting a suitable candidate to grasp the poison chalice?

From ENDS Reports  (and h/t Henry)

Dilley confirmed as new Environment Agency chair

Sir Philip Dilley has been confirmed as the new Environment Agency chairman (photograph: London First)DEFRA has appointed Sir Philip Dilley as the new chair of the Environment Agency.
Dilley, former executive chairman of engineering firm Arup, replaces Lord Chris Smith of Finsbury who is stepping down on 7 September.
DEFRA made the announcement on 22 July following the approval of the House of Commons Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee.
At a pre-appointment hearing on 15 July Dilley was questioned by the EFRA committee about his ability to take the Environment Agency through a period of significant restructuring and budget cuts.
Although MPs approved the appointment, they questioned DEFRA’s decision to extend the time commitment of the job from two to ‘two-to-three’ days a week, and to raise the salary from £60,632 to £100,000.
The decision to appoint Dilley was one of first made by Liz Truss as new environment secretary.
In a statement she said: “This is a vital role which carries major responsibilities. I am delighted to have confirmed Sir Philip Dilley as chairman of the Environment Agency and I look forward to him bringing his leadership, experience and gravitas to the board.”
Dilley was knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours list in June.

It's likely (O.K. certain...) that files/reports about Avoncliff will be on Sir Philip's desk sooner rather than later .....   (Google Sir Philip Dilley)

It's caused a bit of spluttering at The Guardian  and no doubt when FoE and Greenpeace catch up there'll be a blizzard of ad-hom name calling - then aagain maybe not - he gave £2000 to the Scottish Labour Party.

EDIT From The Role Description: "You will promote a positive and constructive relationship with everyone that works with the Environment Agency including local government and local communities, business and industry, planners and developers, and a wide range of other interest groups. Providing excellent customer service will be core to your role."

Right-oh ...

Friday, 25 July 2014


Henry at Inside The EA  has a couple of recent posts up about conflicts of interest, bribes, favouritism and an inconsistent regulatory approach - describing actions known to him when he was actually inside the EA. Whilst it is gratifying to see our prejudices verified - what is not gratifying in any way shape or form is to see criminal behaviour  perpetrated by public officials not being addressed and dealt with.

We are now approaching 5 years down the line, a show-piece project which ticks the "public interest" boxes for green energy, industrial heritage and maintenance of infrastructure - has been obstructed mostly by foul means to indulge the whims of corrupt, arrogant and self indulgent officials - who, in order to spitefully cause harm to the project at North Mill - have connived to award a water licence to somebody that doesn't own the property in question and presently has no legal right, title or covenant in place which allows legitimate work to progress. i.e. they've awarded a paper licence out of - yes....sheer undiluted spite (using your money!).

This was supposed to be a water licence application - but officials have turned it into an expensive circus. The final cost of this mess - to the public purse alone is now likely to exceed  £2 million pounds. 

The EA officials conniving, dishonest actions were unlawful the first time around and that cost the public a pile of money - they did the same thing again and they have twisted every facet of the water licence process this, second time through the process - to impose an arbitrary and very deliberately crippled outcome.

No doubt the departure of Owen Paterson from DEFRA has signalled for some in the EA a return to the good old days of nil oversight and an ever increasing budget.

The EA needs root and branch reform - or a reboot. That dishonesty, cheating, fraud and just breathtaking indolence are easily identifiable in a public body is bad enough - that it is tolerated by management is simply wrong. That the EA are in charge of "waste" is an almost unbearable irony!

There is more woe on the way for EA officials - I hope that instead of "lessons learnt" and back to work  - that the quite astounding carnival of abuses of position and process are addressed robustly.

And the question has to be asked - who's going to replace Chris Smith eh?

I offer a takeaway from this mini rant in the shape of a quote from "Henry" that must for the moment serve as a warning to anybody interacting with this bureaucracy:

"The message I would like to get out is how the power given to the Agency is regularly abused, how personal opinions and biases impact real people and businesses with no benefit to the environmental or human health, and that what the Agency communicates to the outside world is usually a far cry from what is encouraged internally".  - "Henry" July 2014

To the politicians reading this blog - do you think it's acceptable that abuses like those documented here and in other places are allowed to continue? Are self indulgent abuse of power, contempt for the law and wholesale cheating by unelected public officials/servants (?!) acceptable?