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ESA rejects EA merger proposal

The representative body for the waste and resource management industry has marked the end of consultation on the future of the Environment Agency (EA) by insisting it should remain separate from Natural England.

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) is also calling for the EA’s flood defence role to go to a separate body to strengthen the agency’s work on other issues such as waste crime.

The representation from the ESA coincides with the closure of consultation on Defra’s Triennial Review process which proposes the EA and Natural England merger.

Matthew Farrow, ESA director of policy, left, said: “The EA is one of the largest government agencies and is central to the ability of ESA members to operate efficiently and effectively for the benefit of all. 

“While our members do sometimes experience frustration when the two bodies take conflicting views on planning and permitting applications, they do not feel it is right to merge the two organisations”.     

Instead, the EA has argued that the flood defence role of the EA should be removed, to leave a slimmed down agency, focused on delivering its core smarter regulation agenda, and focusing on issues such as waste crime.

Farrow added:  “Whether the flood defence role should be brought within Natural England, or moved elsewhere in the public sector, we are not best placed to judge.

“It is odd to propose a merger between the two bodies just before we have the benefit of learning from the Welsh experience of doing something very similar”.  

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