SOMERSET FLOODS: Eric Pickles apologises for failure to dredge (From Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News)
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SOMERSET FLOODS: Eric Pickles apologises for failure to dredge
ERIC Pickles, communities secretary, has given an "unreserved apology" for not dredging the Somerset levels.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show today, Sunday February 9, Mr Pickles blamed bad advice from the Environment Agency for the decisions the Government made.
He said that the Government has made a “grave mistake” in not dredging.
He said: "We made a mistake, there’s no doubt about that, we perhaps relied too much on the Environment Agency advice, I think we recognise now that we should have dredged and I think it’s important now we get on the process of getting those people back into their houses once we’re able to really do some serious pumping, at the moment the levels are too high.
"I’ll apologise, I apologise unreservedly and I’m really sorry we took the advice of what we thought were experts."
Despite huge criticism from local MPs, farmers and residents Chris Smith, the head of the Environment Agency has so far refused to apologise and has ignored calls for his resignation. While Mr Pickles would not endorse Mr Smith’s continued leadership of the agency he refused to encourage him to resign. "That’s a matter for him I don’t think I should nudge him out,” he added.