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Environment Agency (Read 10,264 times)
mc661
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Habitual FOI requester.

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Environment Agency
Aug 17th, 2005 at 2:26pm
 
Phone us on: 08708 506 506 or

use the following links to make a request for information online or find your local office.

Please be as specific as possible when requesting the information you require.  If you need advice or assistance in defining your request please ask us.
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Oh woopie, I now have to pay to get information!!!!

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jamesbond
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Re:  Environment Agency
Reply #1 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 8:07pm
 
have just received this from Environment Agency:

I have had a reply to the FOI to the Environment Agency, it is as follows:

Dear Mr **********

Thank you for your email regarding Floodline. I am sorry you feel cause to complain about the Floodline number being charged at the local rate.   

Part of the reason for using a non-geographical number is that we operate our Floodline contact centres over a number of sites.  By using an 0845 number we can re-route incoming calls more easily and have more flexibility when managing calls from our customers.  This is especially important during flood events when there are high call volumes.   

0845 numbers are not reliant on a geographic location and therefore not at risk of local failures.  It is also a safeguard if there is a fault on certain networks and lines.   

The local rate number used for Floodline* is provided to the public at the lowest cost possible.  The Environment Agency does not profit from the number and pays additional charges to cover the difference in cost between a local and a national rate call for our customers.   

Some telecommunication service providers and mobile networks block calls to 0800 numbers. This would reduce public accessibility to the service making it highly unsuitable for Floodline.

Despite calls to the Floodline service being charged at local rate, The Environment Agency does provide a free flood warning service (Floodline Warnings Direct) which contacts the public with advance warning of flooding via landline, mobile, text, email fax and pager.

Yours sincerely

Liz Hills

Flood Warning Systems Support Officer

Flood Warning & Information Services Team

Hope this answers a few questions re the 0845 number

James Bond
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sherbert
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Re:  Environment Agency
Reply #2 - Jul 16th, 2008 at 8:25pm
 
Ahem! I thought there was no such thing as local rate. Roll Eyes
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jgxenite
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Help us to help you -
read the instructions!!

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Re:  Environment Agency
Reply #3 - Jul 18th, 2008 at 11:20pm
 
Wow, Liz clearly has NO idea about how the telephone systems work...
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I don't mind helping you with your request as long as you read the instructions!
 
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Barbara
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Re:  Environment Agency
Reply #4 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 4:05pm
 
Two thoughts (leaving aside Liz's ignorance of call costs/phone systems in general):
1)  Could not these same "advantages" come from using an 03 number?   Why should flood victims or those worried about the threat of flooding have to pay a premium to find information & advice?   Surely this should be a public service?
2)  Is this the same Environment Agency which suggested mobile alerts to residents in a village near us where many residents suffered flooding last year and had to have it pointed out to them that there is NO mobile signal at all in the village so such alerts would be worthless??!!

Strikes me they need to be MORE locally based rather than scattered about, then they might know a little about the areas they are supposed to serve!
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SilentCallsVictim
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Re:  Environment Agency
Reply #5 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 4:58pm
 
Sadly Liz's understanding is (at best) long out of date.

The "advantage" of a "local rate" is not available with 03, because there is no "local rate" any more. Given that the 03 number itself and the ultimate point of termination was at a location not susceptible to flooding then the intended advantage (the lowest rate for all callers) would indeed be provided.

As stated elsewhere however, the cost of a 03xx number, without the benefit of revenue sharing, would mean that less money was available for projects or that taxpayers would have to provide a bigger budget.

Should those who are not at risk of flooding pay more tax for the sake of those who are? The reaction to suggestions of general increases to insurance premiums following recent incidents could give some of the answer to this question.
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Dave
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Re:  Environment Agency
Reply #6 - Jul 25th, 2008 at 5:39pm
 
Barbara wrote on Jul 25th, 2008 at 4:05pm:
2)  Is this the same Environment Agency which suggested mobile alerts to residents in a village near us where many residents suffered flooding last year and had to have it pointed out to them that there is NO mobile signal at all in the village so such alerts would be worthless??!!

Quite clearly there is an issue with communication of this message. The Environment Agency may know, but the issues of mobile coverage must be taken into consideration. Perhaps there needs to be a range of contact methods. For example, for those who don't have a mobile (or no coverage at home) and no internet, then the only other way is either someone knocking on their door or a telephone call.

It stands to reason that flooding occurs in lower lying areas. Rural valleys may be susceptible. Naturally, a mobile phone will generally only work in a valley if there is a base station for the subscriber's network either in the valley itself or on the hill overlooking it.

Ironically, those on high ground may well be able to pick up a mobile signal from a longer distance, but they probably won't be at risk of flooding, whilst those in the valley they overlook are at risk but cannot get a signal.
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« Last Edit: Jul 25th, 2008 at 5:40pm by Dave »  
 
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