Environment Agency flood forecast criticised by Pickles

The Environment Agency has been told it exaggerated the risk of coastal flooding at a Lincolnshire site.

A public inquiry had looked at its decision that caravans could not be placed at a site near Wrangle due to predictions about flooding.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has now ruled the agency's computer modelling was over-cautious.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said it would study the decision but stood by its methods.

'Best information'

The dispute began when the agency objected to plans by Staples Vegetables to site more than 40 caravans for agricultural workers in fields near the coast.

It escalated when Boston Borough Council supported the firm with a study which contradicted the agency's predictions and the case went to a public inquiry.

Mr Pickles said the agency over-stated both the likelihood and possible consequences of a coastal breach at Wrangle.

But Planning & Corporate Services Manager at the Environment Agency, Andrew Mozley, responded: "The judgement is an 81-page document, so we will look at some of the specific issues that have been reaised and if necessary will take action accordinginly.

"But we are fundamentally of the belief that the science and modelling we use is the best available information at the time to support strategic planning".

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