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  • by Trevor Loveday

Green watchdog chair urges government to reverse cuts to funding

Chair of the Environment Agency, Emma Howard Boyd, has urged the government to “step up to the plate” on funding environmental protection in its next spending review. She warned that funding cuts of more than 50% had limited the watchdog’s capacity to tackle pollution.

Responding to a critical article in The Times, Howard Boyd (pictured) said the author had been “wrong on most counts” but agreed with the journalist’s assertion that the agency needed more resources. “The funding the Environment Agency gets from the government to protect the environment has been cut from £120m in 2010 to £52m now, a cut of 57%,” said Howard Boyd adding: “and that has affected our ability to protect and enhance our waters.”

She went on: “We have increased our charges to the water companies to help support our regulatory work. But the government also needs to step up to the plate. The forthcoming Spending Review is an opportunity for the government to show its commitment to the environment.”

Her corrections to the article included the advice: “Rivers in England are not currently certified as safe for swimmers because there is no current system of certification.”

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