Somerset’s Countryside Team Still Faces The Chop: Cuts to Flood Team Too.

Somerset County Council’s Press Office must be dizzy after all the spinning they’ve been doing on the issue of the proposed cuts to the Countryside and Flood Teams at the Council. They have been busily telling anyone who’ll listen that some extra money found at the last minute has enabled them to reverse some of the proposed cuts. Absolute rubbish. Despite positive indications by Council Leader John Osman on BBC Somerset a few weeks ago, I have not seen any changes to the cuts to countryside and flooding as a result of this cash. The only changes from the original cuts package are the reversal of the mistaken redundancy notices issued to the biodiversity and project officers (they’re still scheduled for the chop, just not ’til next year) and the saving of an ecologist’s post, whose fees are now going to be recharged to the District Councils. Under the current plans THERE WILL BE NO COUNTRYSIDE TEAM.

And on top of that, they are still proposing to cut the post of the flood project manager who has won over £7m in flood management funding for Somerset.

Don’t believe the spin. Despite the public telling the County Council that they wanted MORE investment in flooding and countryside management, they are in fact, slashing it. Somerset County Council Conservatives – Still Not Listening.

*Update. After much campaigning, Somerset County Council backed down on the plan to make the flood manager redundant. Pressure works.*

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3 Responses to Somerset’s Countryside Team Still Faces The Chop: Cuts to Flood Team Too.

  1. Peter Grover says:

    Mike,
    It seems from an article in Telegraph (22 February C Brooker) that the flooding of the Somerset levels resulted from a number of decisions taken 2005- 2007 that encouraged flooding of the levels – a policy that ignored their property and human rights.

    The climate change arguments have been used to obscure the real issues. It matters not if recent weather is somehow different due to ‘global warming’. The issue is weather these people and businesses are treated properly. Also for the country as a whole to continue to function it needs resilient infrastructure. Ask the Dutch to give back to the sea a third of their country!

    Neither main party can claim to have handled this correctly. The present government’s cuts only follow on from those started by the previous government.

    I hope the residents take the government to court.

  2. Rachel Cooke says:

    More nonsense from the right.

    C Booker has written a string of articles, based on the writings of his pal R North, erstwhile “chief researcher” of the UK Independence party, in the Telegraph, Mail and Spectator, making out that Levels flooding is a European Union conspiracy. These are co-authors of the surrealist masterpiece “Scared to death” http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/dec/09/scienceandnature.features
    – which debunks the dangers of passive smoking, white asbestos, eating BSE-infected beef, CO2 emissions, climate change, leaded petrol, dioxins, and high-speed car driving.

    To re-quote the Observer writer: “by carefully selecting sources, a demolition of mainstream science can be given precarious credibility. The end result is misguided, sad and rather desperate”.

    The truth is dredging was proposed by the Environment Agency but fell foul of Treasury funding rules.

    Yes, the Catchment Flood Management Plan policy for the Levels states: “we will take action with others to store water or manage run-off in locations that provide overall flood risk reduction or environmental benefits”. Exactly as the Dutch have practiced since the mid 90’s – retain, store, and discharge, with increasing emphasis on the need to retain and store as much as possible to prevent greater catastrophe.

    Where this government has been wholly irresponsible is in cutting flood defence budgets.

  3. Rob Jordans says:

    Christopher Booker is co-author, with Richard North, of the surrealist masterpiece “Scared to death” http://www.theguardian.com/books/2007/dec/09/scienceandnature.features
    which debunks the dangers of passive smoking, white asbestos, eating BSE-infected beef, CO2 emissions, climate change, leaded petrol, dioxins, and high-speed car driving!!

    To re-quote the Observer writer: “by carefully selecting sources, a demolition of mainstream science can be given precarious credibility. The end result is misguided, sad and rather desperate”.

    Dredging would have made virtually no difference in this flooding – listen to expert views and understand. The flooding happened because of unprecedented rainfall. Prepare for this happening more often as the climate changes and produces more frequent and bigger extreme weather events.

    Oh, and the Dutch do allow their floodplains to flood, to alleviate risks elsewhere….

    See:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26292033

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-26069348

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