Extreme weather to be 'normal'

The Environment Agency chairman Chris Smith has said the UK must become more resilient to weather extremes of drought and flooding.

UK could experience a 1976-style drought every decade

File picture of the Howden reservoir, at the top of the Derwent Valley in The Peak District. Credit: PA Wire

Met Office analysis suggests that the UK could experience a 1976-style drought every 10 years, and the Environment Agency said that with the population of London and the South East set to grow by 23% by 2035, action should be taken now.

Modelling suggests some river flows could be cut by up to 80% during the summer in the next 40 years as the climate changes, putting more pressure on businesses that rely on taking water from rivers for irrigation.

Weather extremes 'highlight urgent need to plan'

The chief of the Environment Agency said last year's extreme weather showed the "urgent need" to plan for a "changing climate". Sir Lord Smith said:

The extremes of weather that we saw last year highlight the urgent need to plan for a changing climate.

More of this extreme weather will exacerbate many of problems that we already deal with including flooding and water scarcity, so taking action today to prepare and adapt homes, businesses, agricultural practices and infrastructure is vital.

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UK 'must adapt' to drought and flooding

The chairman of the Environment Agency, Chris Smith, has said the UK must become more resilient to weather extremes such as drought and flooding.

Parts of England and Wales were hit by flooding one in every five days last year, the Environment Agency said.

With one in four days spent in drought, following two dry winters in a row, the organisation is warning that Britain needs to do more prepare for future extreme weather.

Seaham Harbour, County Durham, as flooding hit parts of England and Wales one in every five days last year Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Record river levels were experienced at the Tyne, Ouse and Tone, experiencing their highest flows since records began, in the space of four months.

With 78 days of flooding, and 95 days of official drought, the Environment Agency is calling for an increase in small-scale water storage reservoirs, which take advantage of wet weather.

Read: Half of Britain in drought

Read: 2012: The year that drenched Britain