It has been revealed that the Environment Agency is to cut 1,700 jobs after seeing larger than expected budget cuts imposed by the Government.
The ENDS Report revealed on Friday that the 11,400-strong organisation is set to shed 15% of its workforce by October 2014, figures that were confirmed by the Environment Agency in a statement.
The statement read:
"We are likely to reduce staff numbers from the previous forecast of around 11,250 at the end of March 2014 to around 9,700 by October 2014."
It was reported that just two weeks ago, the Agency’s Chairman, Lord Chris Smith, and Chief Executive, Paul Leinster, sent an email to all staff saying numbers would have to be reduced to 10,000 by October 2016.
The news that cuts would actually be bigger than that, and over 12 months rather than three years, was broken to staff in an online question and answer session with senior management on 22 October, according to reports.
The statement given to ENDS read:
“Our budget for 2014/15 will be confirmed shortly. However, we are likely to reduce staff numbers to around 9,700 by October 2014.
“We will then aim to keep numbers broadly at that level through to March 2015 dependent of course on future funding.
“We will only achieve this by looking across the whole organisation at our ways of working and structures.”
The news of the job losses has angered green campaigners who said the Agency's role would inevitably be curtailed.
Steve Lee, Chief Executive of The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), said that while he understood some cuts may be inevitable, certain activities, such as the organisation's work tackling waste crime, should not be downgraded.
"The Environment Agency fulfils a critical role in safeguarding our environment and our communities and the budget cuts are cause for concern across all areas of the Agency's remit.
"With evidence to suggest that there is a growing link between waste and organised crime, however, we believe that waste crime must be considered a priority.
"The environmental and economic impact of waste crime is significant and we will continue to push for this area of enforcement to be properly resourced."