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Bigger funding cuts at the Environment Agency and greater cuts to services

Environment Data Services (ENDS) Report revealed today (17/1/14) that the Environment Agency has had its budget cut by £10m more than expected.

The Environment Agency (EA) will receive £397.4m of revenue funding from the government for the year 2014-15, down from £467m in 2013-14. According to ENDS, the EA had been expecting £407m.

Revenue funding pays for all of the EA’s work, except building flood defences and regulating permitted business, such as onshore drilling rigs. Revenue funding importantly includes tackling pollution incidents from all operations.

Cuts to staff and services

The EA had already announced it will cut 1,700 staff. ENDS also reported this week that the EA is to stop commenting on the implications of planning applications for biodiversity, as a way of coping with its reduced budget.

The EA will no longer tell councils if developments are going to damage watercourses or habitats, or advise them on potential mitigation options. Currently, the organisation comments on about 3,500 applications a year and ENDS understands that Natural England, the government’s biodiversity advisor, will not fill the gap because it comments only on developments as they affect designated sites.

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