The UK Environment Agency is to slash its staffing numbers, raising fears that its ability to function will be compromised.
The agency, which is responsible for regulation in areas including pollution and fossil-fuel exploration, is to let around 1,550 staff go.
“Our budget for 2014/2015 will be confirmed shortly. However, we are likely to reduce staff numbers from the previous forecast of around 11,250 at the end of March 2014 to around 9,700 by October 2014,” said a spokesman.
Such cuts — which amount to more than 12% of the Environment Agency’s staff — have led some to speculate that some of the agency’s functions will have to be cut back too.
One anonymous member of agency staff told the ENDS Report — which broke the news of the job cuts: “We’ve already changed our ways of working so we regulate industry in a much more risk-based way and we rely on operators to self-report problems. We’ll do a lot more of that I guess, but how can you guarantee businesses are self-reporting properly if you don’t have the staff to check the reports?”