Warnings over summer drought

Meat processors, along with other businesses, have been urged to plan ahead in preparation for a potential summer drought. An Environment Agency report has revealed that water shortage was very likely after one of the driest springs on record.

Environment Agency chairman Lord Chris Smith said: “The report urges all water users, especially farmers, businesses and water companies, to plan carefully how they store, use and share water.

“As we have seen over the spring and summer, drought has serious impacts on the environment, especially for wildlife, and we will continue to work with others to ensure a secure water supply, balancing the needs of people, businesses and the environment.”

Drought affected central and eastern England this year, and could spread to the south east if rainfall does not increase this winter. Anglian Water has already been given the right to pump river water into reservoirs.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: “It may have surprised people that we’ve granted Anglian Water a drought permit in November, but it is a warning of the need to take action now after the country has seen the driest 12 months since records began.

“Unfortunately, if we have another dry winter, there is a high risk that parts of the country will almost certainly be in drought next summer – so it’s vital we plan ahead to meet this challenge.”

> Drought declared in East Anglia

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