Blackpool MSfW – Coronavirus

Dear Member of the Blackpool Making Space for Water group

I hope you are keeping well. Coronavirus is causing concern across the country for everyone, both personally and professionally. I want to let you know about the steps the Environment Agency is taking at this difficult time.

Overall the Environment Agency’s priorities are to protect the health, safety and well-being of our own staff, the public and the businesses and partners we work with; to prevent loss of life and serious harm to the environment; and to keep our critical operations running. We will need to stop or slow some of our normal activities in order to focus on the most important and urgent. During this time we will aim to provide the best possible service that we can, however, you will understand that in current circumstances we will not be able to operate as normal.

In line with government advice all of our people are now working from home and where we have staff out on the ground, for example inspecting assets, they are adhering to the latest advice from Public Health England.

With respect to the flood risk management capital programme I wanted to give you some reassurance that the Environment Agency and our delivery partners are working hard to progress the schemes within government guidelines and advice. There is a lot of detailed work happening on each scheme and it is a very dynamic situation, particularly with respect to securing building supplies.

Working in partnership, we have been able to find solutions to most of the issues, and work continues on our active sites and for those sites in the planning stages. However, there are many factors that could cause us to slow or pause schemes in the coming weeks or months. Where this does happen we will flag this early and discuss the options with you.

Another aspect where we may need further discussion with you and the local community is about deploying Environment Agency staff and contractors to sites for the first time. Clearly this is a worrying time, and we would want to seek community views before we make any deployment.

If you have any further queries then please don’t hesitate to contact me and I will be in touch if there is any change.

I hope this provides you with the information you need. If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me, or Fiona Duke, Partnerships and Strategic Overview Team Leader (Lancashire), at CMBLNC-PSO@environment-agency.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

ANDY BROWN
Flood and Coastal Risk Manager – Lancashire

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