Flooding crisis: Environment Agency chairman pay and conditions to be reconsidered as details of flooding review announced and storms batter UK

Environment secretary Liz Truss told a committee of MPs yesterday that the pay and terms of the next chairman of the Environment Agency will be reviewed before a replacement for Sir Philip Dilley, who resigned earlier this month, is appointed.

However she pointed out that Sir Philip's absence in Barbados did not affect the EA's operational response.

Truss agreed that there was an expectation he should have come back from his holiday in Barbados sooner. “"He said himself he should have come back earlier, he felt that was an expectation of the role, I certainly think that is the expectation - it's a public-facing role.

" I don't think it presented an operational issue but I think Sir Philip said himself that was the expectation of the role and he couldn't fulfil it." Truss said the salary and number of days worked would be reviewed.

Her quizzing by the MPs looking into the work of Defra generally came as nine flood warning were issued and in the wake of heavy rain to the UK. Parts of Cumbria were flooded again including the village of Glenridding, which was badly hit by Storm Desmond.

Meanwhile, the government confirmed terms of reference for the National Flood Resilience Review to be chaired by Oliver Letwin and published in the summer.

Established last month following Storm Desmond, the Review will assess how the country can be better protected from future flooding and increasingly extreme weather events.

It will focus on: 

•updating climate modelling and stress-testing the nation’s resilience to flood risk

•assessing the resilience of important infrastructure like electricity substations; temporary defences; and future investment strategy.

Oliver Letwin, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said:

“The Review is set to be published this summer and the team will include the Government’s Chief Scientist, Defra, DECC, DCLG, HM Treasury and the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.

During the autumn, the government will begin implementing any short-term measures identified, and will begin work to review the longer term strategy, which will include close consultation with the National Infrastructure Commission.

Defra said that the first task of the National onal Flood Resilience Review Group (NFRRG) would be to carry out a new assessment of the damage that extreme rainfall could cause across England. 


“This will allow us to take a hard look at how our cities, towns and villages stand up to severe flooding. It will assess the impacts on crucial elements of local infrastructure, including significant roads, bridges, energy infrastructure, water treatment plants, telecoms and hospitals. This will provide a ‘stress test’ of our nation’s resilience to flooding, so improving our understanding of the possible implications of extreme events. In doing this we will also review whether the assumptions in current modelling are still sound. We will shortly be issuing a call for evidence to inform this work.”