Lord Smith, the embattled Chairman of the Environment Agency (EA), ignored multiple warnings that his policies would lead to serious flooding in Berkshire, Breitbart London can report.
The warnings came in 2009 from then Lead Member for the Environment at Windsor Council, Cllr Colin Rayner, who spoke exclusively to Breitbart London about numerous meetings with Smith, who has presided over some of the worst flooding to hit Britain in many years.
Smith, Rayner argued, should resign from his position after a string of failures that has led to catastrophic living conditions for many in the Thames Valley.
At one meeting in October of that year, Rayner claims to have told Smith that unless the Environment Agency took urgent action, the villages around Wraysbury, in the Thames valley, would flood. But Smith appears to have ignored Rayner’s warning, preferring instead to blame climate change for any future floods.
“I warned Chris Smith in October 2009 that unless the Environment Agency changed its policy, Wraysbury would flood,” Rayner told Breitbart London. “He didn’t take my concerns seriously and openly dismissed my plan to avoid the floods: a plan that had been working for hundreds of years.”
“Smith is obsessed with climate change and should resign. The river should be managed by professionals,” he added.
Rayner, who is a Councillor for flood-hit Wraysbury, operates a 2500 acre farm in the area and had been responsible for taking steps to prevent flooding prior to the creation of the National River Authority: the forerunner to the Environment Agency.
Rayner said that for several hundred years, members of the his family have dredged the Colnbrook River, which flooded in late January. The work was undertaken every September, ahead of the wet winter months, but today the Environment Agency refuse to follow this tradition because it does not address the perceived threat of climate change.
The Daily Mail recently reported that the EA refused to dredge the Thames due to the process being ‘environmentally unacceptable’ due to the ‘high impact on aquatic species’.
Cllr Rayner also told Breitbart London: “My family had been dredging and looking after the weirs on the river Colnbrook since the 17th Century, but now the Environment Agency is in charge they refuse to dredge and look after the flood bank.
“The EA takes the view that flooding is an inevitable part of climate change. The truth is we have had worse weather than this and not flooded.
“The reason the Colnbrook and the Thames flood is due lack of dredging and maintenance of the flood banks. The old weirs need replacing to allow more flow. The river Thames’s prime purpose is a drain. In Holland they dredge and not one single house has been flooded due to this year’s bad weather.”
The Environment Agency did not respond to questions asked, but Lord Smith hit back at his critics in the Guardian last week: “In a lifetime in public life, I’ve never seen the same sort of storm of background briefing, personal sniping and media frenzy getting in the way of decent people doing a valiant job trying to cope with unprecedented natural forces.”
Smith earned £97,365 chairing the Environment Agency in 2012-13, working a three-day week. He currently holds 11 posts, a mixture of paid and unpaid. He is also entitled to claim up to £300 a day for attending the House of Lords, a role he was appointed to after he his tenure as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under former Prime Minister Tony Blair.