Drought expected to be declared in parts of England amid heatwave

Most affected areas in south and east set for status as temperatures poised to reach 35 degrees

A drought is set to be declared for some parts of England on Friday, with temperatures to hit 35 degrees and make the country hotter than parts of the Caribbean.

Britons have been warned of the health impacts of extreme heat and the risk of wildfires amid a heatwave blasting the nation.

The National Drought Group — made up of government and agency officials, water companies and other groups such as the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) — is set to meet on Friday to discuss the prolonged dry weather.

There are expectations drought could be declared for the most affected areas of England in the south and east, after the driest July on record for some areas and the driest first half of the year since 1976.


It will see the Environment Agency and water companies implementing more of their plans to manage the impacts of low water levels, which can include actions such as hosepipe bans.

Yorkshire Water has become the latest company to announce a hosepipe ban, with restrictions coming into effect from August 26th.

By Friday afternoon, temperatures are to soar as high as 35 degrees in southern areas of the United Kingdom, which will be hotter than the Bahamas, Jamaica and Barbados.

A four-day amber warning for extreme heat from the Met Office is in place for much of England and Wales until Sunday, with warnings of health impacts and disruption to travel.

Forecaster Craig Snell told the PA news agency: “It’s going to be an incredibly hot day, and very sunny across the board, with temperatures slightly higher than what we saw on Thursday.”

There is also a heat health alert in place from the UK Health Security Agency, with experts advising people to look out for those who are older or with existing health conditions, as well as young children.

The ongoing dry conditions, combined with last month’s record-breaking heatwave, have depleted rivers, reservoirs and aquifers and dried up soils, hitting agriculture, water supplies and wildlife and raising the risk of wildfires.

Four water companies in England and Wales had earlier brought in hosepipe bans or signalled their intention to do so, while the Wildlife Trusts have called for an England-wide hosepipe ban to protect nature and rivers.

Some water companies have failed to meet their own targets for cutting household leaks and domestic use, with many blaming the coronavirus pandemic as more people have been at home. — PA