Drought declared in East Anglia

Parts of East Anglia are officially in a state of drought following the driest spring since 1990, Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) have announced.

The National Farmers Union said that the drought would reduce yields of wheat and barley by 12-20%, with some farmers losing up to half their crop.

The declaration allows the Environment Agency to exercise powers under the Water Resources Act, including stopping farmers taking water from rivers. Two hundred farmers in Suffolk have been warned that they could face restrictions before July.

Some farmers in the central Fens have volunteered to irrigate at night in order to minimalise evaporation. The EA is working closely with farmers to ensure that water resources go as far as possible.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: “We are doing all we can to reduce the impact on agriculture and wildlife, but everyone can play their part.”

Although some areas across the country have benefited from recent rainfall, little improvement has been seen in the driest parts of the country. Other areas considered in near-drought conditions include parts of the south west, south east, the Midlands and parts of Wales.


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