Throughout this website, you will probably quickly note a high level of sarcasm and tongue in cheek concerning the unravelling of events and circumstances in relation to my experiences with Rattlechain lagoon. My dealings with many of the “professionals” involved in regulating this site and those who have been involved in some capacity with the revelations to date would make an interesting memoir in their own right.
The Environment Agency are by far the biggest player in events surrounding this site, the operator site, the chemicals, processes and incidents that arise and are released and contained. Their role is both passive and reactive as regulators, but their methods of regulation and monitoring are less well known to the general public.
A recent FOI request sheds some light on the framework within which their officers currently operate. I think it offers a fascinating insight, previously not available, and I am glad that I asked the question, following a repeated complaint that I have made; something which their officers have termed “a minor incident”.
The question I asked related to how they classify incidents, and also why they had passed my report to their 0800 incident hotline to the private water company Severn Trent Water plc.
The supplied response from the EA confirmed that the agency use the ” Common incident Classification Scheme as guidance ” for incident reports. For some reason this has been removed from the main .GOV website which is odd given it explains in detail about how the agency operate. I see it as a retrograde step in that the public are unaware of how their calls are being responded to by people paid by their tax pounds.
The supplied PDF is 75 pages long, but gives many detailed explanations about terminology which would be lost on the general public. Two tiered systems are used and within this different category level responses are noted.
The number of unlawful water/land pollution and illegal waste deposit incidents that the EA recorded in West area 7 (Staffordshire, Warwickshire and West Midlands) for 2010-13 is provided in this FOI request. But how many of these presumably unrecorded incidents did it pass on to other agencies like Seven Trent?
There is explanation as to repeat complaints of discharges, such as the ones that I have reported about spillages into the River Tame.
The majority of incidents involving pollution end up with Environment management. Unfortunately all this theory involving impacts on human health, protected habitats and species is not really assessed when dialling 0800 80 70 60- the EA hotline number that people ring to report anything. The only question usually asked aside from name and contact details are “Are there any animals or fish in distress?”
It is of course in the callers hands to make their own “Assessment”.
When reporting incidents that were directly under the control of “environment management” when birds were being poisoned by a toxic chemical at the lagoon that the EA stupidly had allowed to be dumped under licence, what exactly could be “assessed” by reporting incidents? The deaths were of course repeat occurrences, with the agency apparently unable to make a direct connection to white phosphorus poisoning.
Classifying incidents therefore appears to be purely in the hands of those on the ground attending, yet in the situation I have outlined concerning The River, it was a private water company that attended, (SEVERN TRENT) whom the EA had chosen to delegate responsibility without making their own assessment and NOT attending! It is difficult to see therefore how they can make assessments, or if Severn Trent follow the EA’s common incident classification scheme.
Personally I find the water company being called poor. The close relationship between the two organisations is worrying. It is also extremely poor and a data protection breach as admitted, that my personal details were passed onto Severn Trent. This company have a pretty poor record of maintaining water themselves. They were also directly responsible for selling off their former sewage works adjacent to Rattlechain to a private developer for housing.
Severn Trent appear to have their own reporting system at their own sites, which is confusing because should it not be the case that people should report the incident to the Environment Agency?
THE EA DATA POLICY was supplied.
One wonders whose hands our data, our water and environment are really in? It should certainly not be in the hands of corporate water pirates.