Wraysbury: Environment Agency Staff Return After Abuse

12 February 2014, 17:23 | Updated: 12 February 2014, 17:24

The Environment Agency has confirmed that staff were pulled out of Wraysbury on Monday after facing verbal abuse.

EA staff have now returned to the area and are reported to be working alongside local people to respond to flooding.

The organisation says the decision to remove staff was 'on the advice of police'.

Residents in the area say everyone is pulling together despite the bad weather and that rest centres are running smoothly.

The Environment Agency has issued the following statement:

“Some of our staff faced verbal abuse whilst working in Wraysbury on Monday. For a short while, we temporarily withdrew staff on the advice of the police.

"Our staff were back in Wraysbury yesterday and are there again today, working alongside members of the community and colleagues from other agencies as part of the continuing effort to deal with this exceptional period of weather and flooding.”

Justin Bowden, GMB National Officer for the Environment Agency (EA) said:

"This report of hostility from the residents on the Thames is a direct result of the irresponsible attack by Eric Pickles and others on the EA. His incitement has led to the very people on the frontline who are actually helping to alleviate the situation bearing the brunt of people's frustrations.

"For more than seven weeks since Christmas the Environment Agency's staff have been run ragged helping and supporting the victims of flooding.  GMB members have been working double and triple shifts around the clock to protect and assist.

"It is noted by these staffs that the Prime Minister has repeatedly refused to say the proposed cut of another 1,700 jobs at the EA will be reversed... Government must immediately reverse the ludicrous cut of 1,700 EA jobs, followed by an independent inquiry into what are the realistic funding levels necessary to ensure the EA has both the capital budget to protect the country from flooding and drought and a big enough revenue budget to maintain, service and run these vital defences."

It is expected that more homes will be flooded in the Thames Valley over the next few days.

More heavey rain is predicted for Friday and forecasters say parts of the River Thames could reach their highest level in over 60 years.