POLICIES pursued by a Scottish Labour peer when she was head of the Environment Agency have been blamed for the devastating flooding across the south-west of England.

As the organisation's chief from 2000 to 2008, Baroness Young of Old Scone is alleged to have followed a programme that opposed dredging in order to protect the wildlife habitats around rivers.

However, residents claim this move meant flood waters could not escape to the sea.

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Barbara Scott Young, 65, is currently chief executive of health charity Diabetes UK.

She spent her entire working life in administration, initially in health service management.

A friend and former colleague in the NHS, Alasdair Liddell, described meeting her in the 1970s as a breath of fresh air.

"She had plenty of get up and go. I think she was different than run of the mill health service managers at the time. She would be one of a group - surprised if she didn't make an impression on the world," he said.