Name, Rank And Number

Brutal: Pickles castigated Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith, pictured with his Tibetan terrier Jinny


Name: Lord Smith

Rank: Incompetent

Number:  Well, his number’s up.


Or his number should be up if the BBC were doing its job properly and fully investigating Lord Smith’s role as Chair of the Environment Agency and its policies.


Lord Smith has made two statements today which can unequivocably be called lies….about issues that go right to the heart of the flooding in the Somerset Levels.


This morning on the Today programme Evan Davis asked Lord Smith about an Environment Agency flood management plan from 2008 which stated that it was a policy to allow the Somerset Levels to flood, to encourage it to flood in fact so that other areas would have less flooding.


Lord Smith stated that there were no such plans….the document was an old document that he had never seen.

He repeated all this in this video:


The problem with all that is that in 2012, when Lord Smith was in position, there is this flood management plan for the Somerset Levels from the Environment Agency:

Somerset Levels and Moors

The vision and preferred policy

Policy Option 6-  We will take action with others to store water or manage runoff in locations that provide overall flood risk reduction or environmental benefits. By adopting this policy and redistributing water some areas will be subject to increased flooding while others will benefit from reduced flooding. The aim is to achieve a net overall benefit. The distribution of floodwater between moors can be determined to some extent by the use of sluices and other structures on the rivers

The distribution of floodwater has developed to some extent by historical ‘accident’ rather than design. When considering the distribution of assets across the sub-area it makes sense to direct water to areas which have limited assets at risk. By redistributing floodwater, primarily from upstream of Langport to the King’s Sedgemoor Drain, the overall damage and disruption from flooding would be reduced. Other redistribution options may also be possible, although modelling has shown that technically not all options are feasible.


So either Smith is incompetent or a liar.

Question for the Biased BBC website is why the BBC only chose the 2008 document which allowed Smith to deny all knowledge and brush off all accusations that he was to blame for the flooding in the Somerset levels…or at least for exacerbating the flooding by having a clear policy for using the area as a storage area for flood water.

The 2012 document proves it was policy at a time when he was at the helm.

Smith even admitted to prioritising certain areas...which means allowing others to flood:

He [Smith] also insisted that the agency was right to focus on homes rather than agricultural land. “Lives and people’s homes have to come first,” he said.


So clearly he knew of the policy and agreed with it.


As for ‘politicisation’, Pickles blamed the government and the Environment Agency not Labour……it is Labour politicising the issues….with the BBC cheering things on.



The second lie?

Eric Pickles stated that the Environment Agency gave the government the wrong advice about dredging…and that he now believes they should have dredged….so clearly the advice was not to dredge.

Lord Smith said, in the video above, ‘He is wrong’.….Smith then diverts and tries to blame lack of money.


But was Pickles wrong?  What advice did the Environment Agency give about dredging?


Could it have been something like this from August 2013?



To me that advice is saying dredging has too many downsides and should be used sparingly and only in very certain circumstances.

In fact what Lord Smith himself was advising:

Dredging rivers not full answer to flooding – Environment Agency

Draining Somerset’s Tone and Parrett rivers would only make a ‘small difference’, says chairman Lord Smith




Smith claims he could only spend £400,000 on dredging and yet his agency says in 2011:

The Environment Agency routinely considers dredging and other types of watercourse management, such as de-silting and vegetation removal, to reduce flood risk. We spend over £20 million per year on dredging, de-silting, removing gravel and obstructions along with weed control to clear channels. As with all our work, it has to be prioritised and justified technically, environmentally and economically.


Clearly there must be prioritisation of spending….is the BBC asking that question?  No.


The report goes on…….

Some people and organisations are concerned that we do not do enough dredging and watercourse maintenance. In response to this, and to test our understanding of the evidence, we arranged pilot studies in our South West, Thames and North East Regions. The aim of the studies was to confirm to what extent watercourse maintenance or dredging would reduce the likelihood or severity of floods.

What we have learned

Work at the pilot sites showed that the maintenance work reduced flood risk locally. But in some areas the maintenance work was not cost effective – the flood risk benefit of the work did not justify the expenditure. We had to consider the whole catchment (that is, the whole river system) including the purpose of any watercourses in the catchment. Each pilot site was different and decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis, using evidence and engineering knowledge to make judgements. Working with local communities to discuss the work and agree if it is the best flood risk management measure for them was beneficial.


So is the decision the government’s or the Environment Agency’s not to spend money, to prioritise how it is spent, on dredging or not?  From that it looks like the Environment Agency made the call….so is Smith misleading us again?


Another question for the BBC to ask…but hasn’t.

Kind of crucial in the current highly political argument.


Here’s what the Daily Mail has to add:

Environment Agency bosses spent £2.4million on PR… but refused £1.7million dredging of key Somerset rivers that could have stopped flooding



As said Smith was allowed to brush aside questions about the flood management plan and he launched his own defence, claiming that it was all the government’s fault for not allowing him enough money.

Well you can see from the 2011 report above that prioritisation of how funding is spent is down to the Environment Agency….and they spent over £20 million/year on dredging and channel clearance….however all day the BBC has been pumping out Smith’s excuses that he should have been demanding more money for dredging.

From that we are to suppose he was always in favour of dredging and that the only thing stopping him was lack of funds?

Clearly that is a lie.


So Smith’s defences are:

1.  I didn’t know anything, it wasn’t me.

2. It was the government, they didn’t give me any money.

3. It was my staff’s fault but I won’t let anyone blame them…no sirree bob!


And you know what the BBC has swallowed that hook, line and sinker…anyone would think there was an election coming.

Here is Harrabin failing to do journalistic due diligence:

UK floods: Somerset farmland water plan defended


Why has Harrabin got an unnamed ‘mole’ at the Environment Agency when a look at its website gives you the flood plans?



The BBC doesn’t seem too interested in challenging Smith’s claims….and seem more interested in reporting his comments and others from the Labour Party that point the finger of blame at the Government as a whole rather than the Environment Agency in particular whose responsibility this all is.


Another question the BBC might like to answer…is dredging the answer for the Somerset Levels?

The Levels are not like a normal river area….the fact they can remain above water for much of the year is almost purely down to man’s own efforts…therefore perhaps dredging is the answer whereas in a ‘natural’ river area it wouldn’t be.








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43 Responses to Name, Rank And Number

  1. Deborah says:

    I couldn’t believe it when The Lord said that dredging would only have a SMALL effect on the flooding last week on the Today programme. That part of the interview was replayed this morning on Today and then followed Smith’s weasel words as he tried to rewrite history and amazing how Evan gave in graciously as Smith talked over Evan’s questions.


    • #88 says:

      BUT Smith / the EA has changed it’s position 3 times.
      Before Xmas, at the start of the inundation, it was clear that the Agency was against dredging, there would be NO dredging, it, ‘would make no difference’

      With the benefit of hindsight it seems that the EA might have taken this position to defend themselves from the criticism that a year earlier they had promised dredging to ensure no repetition of the 2012 floods – then did nothing about it.

      The we hear last week’s effort from Smith and then another shift – today’s version.

      So what we have is a time served incompetent Labour machine politician – criticising a Tory Government (surprise, surprise) all facilitated by a left wing BBC wilfully refusing to shine a light on Smith’s failures, his apparent lies or those of his Labour predecessors.

      As one contributor, at the head of the farming community, said tonight, the Environment Agency (and its leaders) was ideologically attached to the previous Government. And so are the BBC.

      Shameful. The bias gets worse with each passing day.


    • Big Dick says:

      Bird`s of a Feather , of course , both Labourite ,n Gay !


  2. GCooper says:

    Chris Smith (I will not dignify the toad with the absurd title he was given as a reward for his miserable role as a Blairite stooge) is typical of our ruling class.

    Swaggering with hilariously misplaced arrogance, having been awarded 11 fake jobs, a title and £100,000 pa for three days a week at the EA, he is perilously close to deserving the first public show trial followed by lengthy period of incarceration.

    Until people like Smith are turfed out of their gilded positions and forced to work like the rest of us, any claims to ‘fairness’ or ‘justice’ or even ‘democracy’ in this country are patently false. Forget socialism: this is the real struggle of the common man. To rid ourselves of this parasitical class.

    The same goes for his fellow Labourite toads at the BBC who have spent the weekend flocking to his aid.

    The whole damn lot of them are traitors and need to be made to pay for their wholesale theft.

    Smith and his ilk are the new Normans.


  3. tom atkins says:

    My understanding is the cost of dredging has risen dramatically because the EU has designated that the dredged mud is a pollutant and must be handled accordingly and at huge cost.
    Before, the dredged mud was welcomed locally as an improvement to farmland.
    Thus when a Treasury cost/benefit model is used to allocate resources, dredging will now always seem too expensive.
    Does anyone know if this right because we sure as hell won’t hear it discussed by the BBC when they get their Greenpeace “experts” on to tell us its our fault because we drive cars?


    • Squatter says:

      Yes, it is correct. There are numerous EU Directives covering removal and deposition of dredge spoil – you can’t even take it out to sea! However some countries ignore these directives…


      • Derek Buxton says:

        The Dutch are still reclaiming new land from the sea, they have no problem getting rid of the sludge. Oh yes, I believe they too are members of the evil EU Empire.


  4. TomO says:

    Tom Atkins

    A commercial contractor for the same dredging job done by the EA (that have scrapped their dredgers + sold off their diggers) reputedly charges about 1/100th of what the EA propose to charge to dredge the River Parrett ….

    EA management find it difficult to be truthful in anything they say.

    We know


  5. stuart says:

    mark harper as a man of honour and the immigration minister done the right thing the other day and resigned from his position when found out he was employing a illegal immigrant.the labour peer and the selfish lord smith has done the complete opposite and showed he has no honour and is more interested in protecting his nice £500 a day appearance fee for doing nothing in the house of lords than looking after and helping those people who are up to there waists in contaminated floodwater in south west england and the thames valley,if they make a new series of shameless on channel 4 lord smith should feature as the main character that is useless and does nothing but sits his backside all day twidding his thumbs and looking up at the sky to see if it is raining.


    • Seek the Truth says:

      I too took note of how quickly Mark Harper did the honourable thing and resigned, thus perfectly illustrating the difference between the Conservatives, and the Labour party and the BBC. I agree that Smith would be perfect in the lead role in any new series of Shameless, but would also recommend him for the next series of Benefits Street. They could even re-name a similar street Chris Smith Street to give it added credibility; after all, he is on the receiving end of some of the biggest benefits payouts in the country.


  6. chrisH says:

    Like Falkirk though-no matter WHAT Labour scumpumps say, do or are culpable for…and after 13 years nearly EVERY problem we now live with was caused within Labours Dung Decade…the BBC won`t have any mention of this.
    The low calibre likes of Smith float on their Socialist Lilos and wait until the price is right for them to go-or until another safe sanctuary berth of a quango crops up with a transferable public pension pot.
    Smith ought to walk-but will rise with the tide as good turds do-waterwings needed because swimming would be just too much effort…and a few dead farmers might be lashed together for a raft for this nomarks continued career at the publics expense.
    When we get asked in future what kind of people we were-we showed ourselves so supine and stupid that we had Prescott as Deputy PM…amd Chris Smith in as many jobs as he needed to take the piss out of the likes of us…the stupid, supine British electorate.


  7. Pounce says:

    They had him on Radio 4 this morning and he tried the same path of woh is me and to be honest initially it came across as a nasty tory party skit . However after he came out with that, Radio 4 then replayed an interview they did with him a few years back where he states that dredging has very little impact on flooding and that actually allowing rivers to flood , flood plains is the best defence against…flooding further up stream (Which to be honest it is)
    He then sang his own praises about how every at the EA loved him, that the EA were wonderful people and that…Tory cuts are to blame. Meanwhile I was still stuck on the M25 and I am blaming…..Tory cuts.


    • Pounce says:

      However, the reason from 0530 to 0930 this morning all I heard from the bBC was Pickles (And by default the PM) are the ones to blame.


      • Ember2013 says:

        The narrative on the 10pm news was: “Tories in turmoil as they clash over the flooding.”


    • OldBloke says:

      In that case, we were both stuck in the same jam on the M25 yesterday!


    • Derek Buxton says:

      Of course he loves the EA staff, they fully support his crazy bureaucracy…… pays well this “public service”


  8. JimS says:

    John Redwood says that the EA’s budget has gone up.

    Even George Monbiot blames the EU: ..”our government in conjunction with crazy European Union rules..” [Jeremy Vine 16:20 minutes]


    • johnnythefish says:

      George Monbiot on Jeremy Vine again?

      George Galloway must be feeling a tad jilted.


  9. Philip says:

    Have Smiths ‘gay-rights’ been violated in Somerset? And you wonder why BBC and politicians are so ‘despised’ that they have to be EU legally protected as a special ‘rare-breed’ of uselessness that only Labour can aspire to. A rare species up to it’s neck in the usual quagmire of deceit and incompetence. ‘I was only following orders’ from the EU, (he has yet to admit), and that is certainly the case and claims ‘no fault’ of his own doing. Incredible feat that, it is ‘as if’ he was not expecting any crisis in his job (which gives you an idea of how these Quangos select their baby sitters. It’s not on local knowledge, but who’s ‘next’, however unemployable the candidate or lack of experience.


  10. Observation says:

    Question for the Biased BBC website is why the BBC only chose the 2008 document which allowed Smith to deny all knowledge and brush off all accusations that he was to blame for the flooding

    Answer: Because he is one of them.


  11. Dave s says:

    This flooding debacle has shown us ,the proles, the incompetence of the entire political class and their media whores. I heard one of them whining on about looters. There is a simple answer. The ancient penalty should be applied.
    Hopefully it will be a seminal moment. The parties in power and out of it are all the same. Arrogant and useless.
    It is essential they are given no quarter. at the EU election. It is time to roll back the liberal state and it’s useless fanatasists.


    • flexdream says:

      I heard [Labour peer and former Labour Minister] Chris Smith saying that politicians know nothing about what’s happening compared to the experts in his agency. Where does that leave him? I am sure if the EA chief was a Tory that fact would be rammed down our throats by the BBC at every opportunity.


  12. #88 says:

    I don’t watch the BBC News any more, ITV News has a better balance. I was though initially disappointed that they led on some of the political arguments (Pickles should have not allowed Labour and the BBC to open up a front to attack the Government – Labour were aware of their complicity and were having to keep their heads down until his intervention).

    But what ITV did next was something that, I have not seen on the BBC. They featured a large fleet of Dutch lorries and equipment that Dutch water engineers have brought with them in response to the disaster. They then showed an animation of what will happen next, as the engineers divert the waters away from a bottleneck on the Levels into the sea.
    The first bit of positive news, but courtesy of ITV.


    • Wild says:

      The BBC have given up on delivering news, instead they deliver correct thinking information films on behalf of the Party.

      They are a disinformation service on behalf of the Labour Party.


  13. Stephen says:

    Love that phrase ‘out of bank flow’.
    Mummy, what does euphemism mean?


  14. chrisH says:

    What`s Chris Smith doing with that dog in the picture?
    And why does he look so happy?(Smith…not the dog!)
    FoI request please…and do the RSPCA know?


  15. Dick the Butcher says:

    Seems to me that this flooding/dredging business is another time bomb dropped during Labour’s Reign of Terror.


  16. Geoff says:

    Typical humorless lefty with zero empathy and zero intelligence, just like all the other Common Purpose placements thrust on our BBC screens to give us their ‘expert’ opinions.

    Would like to think of a solution to be rid of them….

    Smith must have some interesting negatives, how else has he attained such over promoted positions? Or maybe he’s just ‘easy’


  17. Ember2013 says:

    The flooding was always a win-win situation for the BBC. If it couldn’t be pinned on climate change then it could be pinned on the coalition. However, when all things have been eliminated… you deduce that dredging doesn’t always work so lack of funding isn’t the answer and so we can conclude that there was a communication breakdown between the EA and housing developers regarding flood risk in extreme weather.

    That means we are an overcrowded country struggling to find low risk areas to house our burgeoning population.

    Yes folks, the immigration problem raises its ugly head again.


  18. bob says:

    i wonder if these was immigrant areas that was flooded would ed mlliband and the labour party be asking for money from the foreign aid budget be diverted into these areas ?


    • Ember2013 says:

      Heck. If it was an immigrant area we’d have BBC reports on the institutional racism at the “Department for Communities and Local Government.”


    • johnnythefish says:

      No – he’d be demanding further taxes on bankers’ bonuses (the gift that keeps on giving).


  19. pah says:

    When I came home today I found a big puddle where the DB9 likes to sit. There isn’t one their normally because I got a contractor to install drainage on my drive when it was resurfaced.

    So I had a peek and guess what? The drainage channel was clogged with muck. So I gets a trowel and de-muck it. No more puddle.

    I wonder if there is a lesson in there someone?


  20. #88 says:

    Catastrophe (obviously the BBC would like it to be).

    An old lady is ‘rescued’ in Wraysbury. Desperate to elevate this to Katrina levels, a BBC cretin on the News Channel asks a local counsellor, ‘What would have happened if she hadn’t been rescued?’

    I would like to say ‘unbelievable’ but this is typical of the BBCs desperation.

    Desperate, desperate, desperate. Some bastard has gone and and ruined the story. If only she’d died.


    • Ember2013 says:

      I saw the footage of that old woman being carried from her house. Where were the BBC cameras filming my gran being left on a hospital trolley for 13 hours at an A&E just days before she died, at the height of Labour’s spending on the NHS?


  21. Philip says:

    Reading today utterences from Chris Smith are gems (for history). ‘Flooded residents chose to live in high-risk regions’. Lord Smith went on to claim that people buying homes in flood plains ‘risk whatever that property faces’ (as if he was not a former Labour minister with Yvette Cooper (in 2007) who started the encouraging of building on flood plains.…/New-homes-will-be-built-on-flood-plains.html

    And now as head of the UK’s Environmental Agency enabling flooding by ignoring the local Somerset geography and bidding to one-size-fits-all EU solutions – that endanger life in England. Under Labour he was duly Knighted (for what), it is only fair that he relinquishes his ‘Knighthood’ in return for a kick-up-the-backside and forced to live on the same flood plain he proposed ‘in a high risk area’ upon his own ‘forced’ retirement.


  22. TomO says:

    I really wish people would desist from calling Smiffy Head of The Environment Agency when he’s simply a towed and expensive PR decoy, a credulous idiot and an incurious PR figurehead dosed with conceit and pomposity.

    It’s the senior executives a la BBC that are working his mouth – even more so than Fatty Pang


  23. pah says:

    The picture at the top of this item shows that Smith is an utter incompetent. Super villains are supposed to hold cats not dogs.