Head of Policy at Protect, Andrew Pepper-Parsons said:
“The report in today’s Guardian, ‘Staff blow whistle on Environment Agency that ‘no longer deters polluters‘ that Environment Agency cuts have left staff unable to do their jobs, and warned against speaking to the media by Environment Agency Chief Executive James Bevan, if accurate, is extremely concerning and we will be writing to the Environment Agency about the article.
Disclosing information that the environment has been, is being, or is likely to be damaged is explicitly protected under whistleblowing law, and staff should not be prevented from speaking up about these concerns.
As the UK’s whistleblowing charity, we would like to say we are here for all employees at the Environment Agency who wish to raise concerns in confidence.
The article details how three officers at the EA describe that they are increasingly unable to hold polluters to account or improve the environment as a result of the body’s policies and ‘actively encouraged not to take enforcement action’.
Back in November we highlighted our concerns about the very few environmental concerns we receive in to our Advice Line.
Regulators have an important role to play in encouraging whistleblowing to staff and the sector it regulates, and it is not in the spirit of promoting speaking up to warn staff against speaking to the media. As the UK’s whistleblowing charity, we would be very happy to engage with the Environment Agency Chief Executive James Bevan and senior management on instilling a healthy speak up culture. We will be writing to them this week.”