Environment Agency: Drought warning for East Midlands

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Drought conditions are highly likely to affect large parts of the East Midlands if dry weather continues, the Environment Agency says.

A dry winter has produced a high risk of drought in Nottinghamshire, south Derbyshire and Leicestershire.

"As temperatures begin to rise, we would expect to see more environmental impacts from the dry conditions," an Ennvironment Agency spokesman said.

Southeast England, Lincolnshire and East Anglia are already in drought.

The agency is advising farmers to look for ways to reduce share water use and has called on water companies to cut leaks from their networks, consider sharing water with neighbouring companies, and encourage their customers to use water wisely.

Wildlife threat

The knock-on effects of the drought include increased risk of woodland fires and falling water levels in lakes and reservoirs.

Seven water companies across southern and eastern England have announced they will introduce hosepipe bans - with five starting on 5 April and two more at a yet-to-be announced date.

Lord Chris Smith, Environment Agency chairman said: "A prolonged drought will have long term impacts on wildlife and habitats.

"The Environment Agency is actively monitoring the environmental impact of the drought and will take action to mitigate these impacts wherever possible."

The Environment Agency said the number of fish kills caused by dry weather have already increased this year.

The agency has also introduced a fast track process for farmers to apply to take additional water when river flows are high enough.

Last month the agency said water levels were so worryingly low that twice the average rainfall was needed if rivers are to recover and a hosepipe ban is to be avoided.

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