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UK environment boss in hot water over Barbados trip

The chairman of Britain’s environment agency  is under fire for spending Christmas in Barbados amid UK floods.

A report in the Telegraph newspaper said Sir Philip Dilley has been holidaying here for the past fortnight despite telling MPs he would work “seven days a week” if there was a flooding crisis at home.

Sir Philip said his job was to “turn up in your wellingtons” and criticised his predecessor Lord (Chris) Smith for taking six weeks to visit the Somerset Levels when they flooded in 2013.

But instead of working round the clock as he said he would, the British newspaper said today he has been “basking in 30C sunshine in the Caribbean at his holiday home near the world famous Sandy Lane resort”.

Sir Philip was expected to return home today to face his critics as one of the MPs who approved his appointment said he had “questions to answer” and had failed to live up to expectations.

Sir Philip Dilley

Sir Philip Dilley

Sir Philip, 60, is paid £100,000 a year for his part-time role.

In July last year, when he appeared before the parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee for what was effectively a job interview, he said: “The role is described as two to three days a week. I have interpreted it as typically two days a week with an allowance for crises. I can well see if there is a crisis it’s six days a week or seven. This would be my core role.”

“From what I saw as a member of the public that did all happen but it happened a bit late.”

He later returned to the theme in a newspaper interview, saying Lord Smith had come in for “unfair” criticism but nevertheless “I will look to avoid it”.

He added: “I chair the board of the agency and I agree there is a sort of figurehead position that is crucial for perception.”

However, instead of pulling on his wellies and spending the festive period visiting the flood-hit north of England, the only opportunity for Sir Philip to get his feet wet has been in the balmy waters of the Caribbean, the Telegraph said, noting that Sir Philip spent the past two weeks at his holiday home outside Bridgetown with his Barbadian second wife June, an interior designer, with whom he built the house in 2009.

Sir Philip's holiday home in Barbados

Sir Philip’s holiday home in Barbados

The paper also quoted Jim Fitzpatrick, a member of the environment committee that confirmed Sir Philip’s appointment, as saying: “They were very positive words he [Sir Philip] said to the committee and I do recollect him quite clearly giving a commitment in the event of future floods, and it’s disappointing that he has not lived up to his own expectations.

“I’m sure he will be asked questions about his absence when there was such a disaster unfolding right across the north. Whether it eventually leads to anything more serious for him remains to be seen.”

The Telegraph said Sir Philip’s only visit to the flooded areas was on Dec 14, when he went to Cumbria. When the Prince of Wales visited Cumbria on Dec 21, Sir Philip was already in Barbados and sent his deputy to accompany the Prince.

Sir Philip is a former business adviser to David Cameron. In his previous role as executive chairman of the engineering firm Arup he accompanied the Prime Minister on trade missions to India, China and Russia and was a guest at a State banquet at Windsor Castle when the Indian president was hosted by the Queen.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP

Jim Fitzpatrick MP

His appointment as Environment Agency chairman was controversial because he has corporate links to the fracking industry.

Portsmouth-born Sir Philip married his first wife, Susan, in 1980, and has two grown-up sons, James and Jonathan.

He married his second wife, June, in 2003. She has a 29-year-old son called Anthony from a previous marriage, the Telegraph reported.

5 Responses to UK environment boss in hot water over Barbados trip

  1. Lawrence Griffith
    Lawrence Griffith December 30, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Politicians are usually skumballs, lying and deceitful people who are willing to lie about anything for political gain and power.. Did Obama did what he said, did he bring any changes for the better. The answer is no, the people are worse off now than back then..

    • Kevin December 30, 2015 at 9:23 am

      Wuh Obama got to do with this? Who people are worst off now pre January 2009? Economy back to levels pre-2007/8 economic crash, stock markets have more than tripled, the value lost in 401K’s during the crash have been restored, housing market back on track, real unemployment still shaky but not like it was pre-2009. Take a seat.

  2. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley December 30, 2015 at 4:20 am

    I doubt you would say that if all your furniture and belongings had been destroyed and you couldn’t live in your home for months !

  3. Cecil P December 30, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    thank u Kevin. L.G don’t know what the hell he’s talking about he should keep his damn mouth shut . the U.S is in a lot better shape now since Obama took over the mess the REPUBLICANS LEAVE .but kevin u know what ? know one would admit to it because they don’t want any one to know what a good job he did. from the north pole end of story

  4. BoBO December 30, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Man leh de man enjoy he planned holiday .Someone else must be dey to keep tings in check till he get back ohm.
    He ain’t Prime Minister Camaron . Bwoy ,enjoy sum see n sun wid ya bajan mad -dam.
    A big shout out to de man .


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