in the lSince so many people, including Eric Pickles, have been blaming the Environment Agency for the recent flooding, especially in the Somerset Levels, I thought I should point out that they seem to me to have acted quite correctly in the light of the information they had available and that hindsight is a commodity which is seldom in short supply, especially in Fleet Street and Westminster!

All government agencies, and all the rest of us, have to make decisions about the allocation of resources based on costs and foreseeable risks. There would have been plenty of criticism of them if they had either overspent their budget or allocated more money to the Somerset Levels at the expense of other places, especially if the floods had occurred elsewhere, or not at all.

Would anyone really expect them to plan everything on a “worse-than-worst-case-scenario” basis?  If you did that in your business or in your private life, what would the consequences be?  I would certainly not advise any client to operate on such a basis, but rather on the basis of what is “reasonably foreseeable” – and most people are reluctant to spend money on that basis!  How could the worst weather in over 200 years be in any way regarded as something we should routinely plan for?

As Jesus said to people accusing a woman of adultery:”Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. Anyone want to take Him up on that?