Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Booker Backs Localism

In a well-featured piece in the Mail, Christopher Booker catalogues the failures of the Environment Agency that have allowed the Somerset Levels to be submerged for most of this Winter. He rightly identifies that the old Drainage Boards, organised and run locally by those familiar with the watercourses, flood plains and topography of their areas, abolished in favour of a centralist State authority, did a far better job. And as a sting in the tail, he points out that the Norfolk Broads, not run by the EA but by a local Board, have escaped flooding problems this year. 

Spot on. The Norfolk and Suffolk Broads Act 1988 was a thorn in the heart of the centralists; when the Tories sought to enact the Environment Act 1995 which created the EA they badly wanted to include the Broads, but difficulties including a concerted local campaign of opposition kept the Broads out of the EA's clutches. It continues with its remit (a legal obligation the Greens can't touch) to serve agriculture, forestry, local social and economic interests, navigation, public enjoyment, natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.

Unlike of course the EA, conceived from an act of green insanity, with a mission to "achieve sustainable development" with a vision of a "rich, healthy and diverse environment for present and future generations". And this is the problem with remote, central State authorities that lose touch with their local roots; they become susceptible to influence by cranks and nutters who value geese over people. 

10 comments:

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"cranks and nutters who value geese over people"

And don't even start me on the fact that bats are now more important than people, under all circumstances.

Cranks and nutters indeed, but somehow they're in charge.

Anonymous said...

"Norfolk Broads, not run by the EA but by a local Board, have escaped flooding problems this year."

Stand by for the Broads Board to be abolished. Nothing should be allowed to illustrate the inferiority of the State system.

Anonymous said...

Marvellous comment and aimed with pinpoint accuracy. Indeed, nothing but nothing that got bigger ever got better and that goes for the EU too.

G. Tingey said...

Yes & no.

I'm fully in favour of a properly "Green" agenda.
Which is why I loathe & fear the so-called Green political party - I do hope people can see the difference.

Bats are a "mine canary" for environmental changes, incidentally.

Locally (!) the classic example is the great forest of Epping.
Owned, managed & protected for all the people of London, by a local "authority" - The Corporation.
The idiot water-melons want to abolish the Corporation - which will thus allow the forest to be concreted over.
Stupid: - doesn't even begin to describe it.

Johnm said...

They cannot care that much for bats, otherwise they would not construct wind turbines. Even the RSPB are going to install a wind turbine at their HQ (you haven´t arrived until you have a bird chopper at your bird-protection HQ).
The EA is one of the most wasteful agencies, which says a lot....and is riddled with people who care so much for the environment they forget that people are part of it.

Michael said...

It seems that Yalding, so recently flooded yet again, may become a new 'Garden City'.

I presume that this has been announced, so that there will be enough money in the pot from the future development to fund the flood protection that they really deserve, and are owed already.

But that is a cynical view...

Anonymous said...

I understand that residents of the Somerset Levels pay a council tax precept to the drainage board. The drainage board are not allowed to use the money locally, but have to hand it over to the Environment Agency, who apparently decline to spend resident's own money on resident's own flood prevention.

right_writes said...

I read the Mail piece by Christopher Booker, and couldn't help notice that amongst the heads of this envirovandal quango, there have been some witty comments...

Baroness Young, said she would like to see every land pump have a limpet mine stuck to it...

I can think of a better use.

Chris Smith, the current sinecure, thought that dredging was a waste of time, it would have little effect...

Then I remembered, wasn't he the Labour cabinet minister that "came out" and then later wore his HIV+ badge with "pride"?

Well yes... But then I understood something... That former Tory councillor who shipped up at UKIP's door, was welcomed and who then declared that the weather was being caused by gay marriage, or some such tosh...

I wonder if there really is some connection?

I think we should be told.

Anonymous said...

Overpopulation will erode this island from within just as sure as the sea erodes the outline.

Steve

Ed P said...

The EA is grossly over-staffed and over-funded compared with ALL other countries' similar agencies. It (mis)manages similar terrain and coastline issues to American agencies employing one ninth of the personnel and with one eight of their budget pro-rata. Bring back Localism!