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Wettest April on record helps to reduce drought in parts of England

The Environment Agency announced today that they have removed the 'drought status' for certain areas in England. Drought status has been lifted for 19 counties in the South West, the Midlands and Yorkshire.

The wettest April on record and continuing rainfall in May have significantly increased river and reservoir levels, reducing the pressure on environment and current public water supplies in some parts of England.

However, parts of East Anglia and South East England remain in drought.



Farmers and wildlife at risk from drought

The Environment Agency has said that agriculture and wildlife could be the main victims of the worsening drought in the UK. Specifically, it warned:

  • Livestock farmers and fruit, vegetable and salad growers in east, central and south-east England may face shortages
  • Plant and wildlife species could be lost in freshwater and wetland sites
  • Higher risk of woodland fires and serious chemical pollution in rivers
  • Boating restrictions on the Oxford and Grand Union Canal
  • Hosepipe bans in the South East and Anglia

ITV West reports that Wessex Water is taking measures to protect wildlife and agriculture.

'Drought will take toll on endangered birds'

A redshank Credit: Andy Hay/RSPB

The RSPB has warned that some endangered bird species are at risk because of the drought. RSPB spokesman Tony Whitehead said: "Every indicator, whether river flow or groundwater level, is telling us that this is a very serious drought that could be worse than the infamous 1976 event"

He added: "Dry conditions [are] threatening to impact this spring’s breeding season in places such as the Somerset Levels and around the Exe Estuary. These are some of the last remaining homes in our countryside for breeding water birds such as snipe, redshank and lapwing."

A snipe Credit: Andy Hay/RSPB

No hosepipe ban for Wessex Water

Wessex Water has released a statement saying that it is not considering a hopepipe ban but is taking measures to preserve water. The Environment Agency says that an additional 17 counties, including those in the South-West of Britain, are now facing a drought.

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