Spare a Thought For The Environment Agency

An email received today:

[D]ear all

I thought you should all be aware that the Environment Agency is receiving some rather bad press at present and are being used as a political football.

Having lived by the Thames for my whole life and had dealings with the Environment Agency and its predecessor the Thames Conservancy as a boater and fisherman I can tell you they are one of the most efficient organisations I have ever dealt with. Their problem is that they have had numerous cuts in funding(the last a year ago being a one third cut).

The Drainage Boards which used to dredge the Thames and other rivers were disbanded around 20 years ago. The function but not the funding was handed to the Environment Agency at that time. The subject has been raised at many River User Groups Meetings I have attended over the last 10 years. The response has always been we have the equipment(which they inherited from the Drainage Boards) but not the funding to retain the manpower to do it. It is highly labour intensive!

I suspect the situation is exactly the same in Somerset though I believe the impact of dredging the 3 rivers crossing the Somerset levels would have much more of an impact as they are miniature compared with Old Father Thames!

Here are a few shots taken at my Club in Hampton Court and at Datchet which reflect the scale of the problem.

Yours ever

(images follow)