Environment Agency whistle blowers have revealed that the Agency has become “toothless” because monitoring has degraded, officers are given neither the resources nor the internal support to pursue enforcement action against pollution incidents, and they are encouraged to approve all but the very worst permit applications:
According to the EA officers:
“…we’re told, largely through the permitting process, to give business the benefit of the doubt, rather than the environment”.
“Unless you can find a 100% solid reason not to grant something, you will grant it. The precautionary principle, which is what a lot of these decisions should be based on, is not prevalent … we don’t really get to use it”
“priority is given to the applicant rather than the environment unless it’s absolutely clearcut.”
“Should a polluter be caught, any tools that were at [its] disposal to take action have been systematically removed … Officers are actively encouraged not to take enforcement action, and asked to find another solution. We are no longer a deterrent to polluters”