01 October 1998
Environment Agency forced to apologise over floods
By FWi staff
THE Environment Agency was forced to apologise today (Thursday) after an independent report severely criticised its handling of the Easter floods which engulfed thousands of acres of farmland.
The report said the agency had issued inaccurate flood warnings and inadequately maintained flood defences which worsened flooding across the country on April 10-12.
Five people were killed and hundreds of homes flooded as torrential rain engulfed a swathe across central England from Herefordshire to Norfolk.
At a press conference this morning, the agencys director of operations Archie Robertson acknowledged that mistakes had been made.
“The agency regrets sincerely the impact of the floods, and is particularly saddened by the loss of life, the damage to property, disruption to livelihoods and the personal trauma that has been experienced by many,” Mr Robertson said.
“Faced with such extreme conditions, we acknowledge that our actions did not always meet our own standards or satisfy the public.”
Mr Robertson said the agency had since upgraded its work to improve the reliability of flood forecasts. Work has also been carried out to improve flood defence.
Insurance claims for the flooding totalled hundreds of millions of pounds.
Latest reports this afternoon suggest that five MPs have demanded Mr Robertsons resignation.