Drought declared in eight areas of England
Drought has been declared in parts of southwest, south and central England, and all of eastern England as Britons continue to bake in the high temperatures.
The affected areas are:
• Devon and Cornwall
• Solent and South Downs
• Kent and South London
• Herts and North London
• East Anglia
• The Thames
• Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire
• East Midlands
Wiggonholt, in the Horsham district of West Sussex, has seen the highest recorded temperature in Britain today at 34.5C, according to the Met Office.
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While in Ireland, Oak Park in County Carlow reached 31.7C, which is 11.8C above the long-term average, Irish Observational Climatology said.
The drought announcement means residents in the areas indicated on the map below can expect domestic and commercial water use restrictions.
Although the transition to drought status does not automatically trigger actions in itself, it means that the Environment Agency and the water companies will implement stages of pre-agreed plans.
These plans follow local factors, including rainfall, how much water is left in rivers, reservoirs and lakes, as well as temperature forecasts and water needs, and lead to temporary use bans, such as hose bans, being put in place.
Residents and businesses in the affected areas have been urged to be “very aware” of the pressure on resources and told to use water wisely.
The Norwegian Environment Agency has said that essential water supplies are safe, encouraging water companies to continue their precautionary planning.
However, Environment Minister George Eustice has warned that the risk of running out of water will be “greater” if we have another dry winter.
Yellow extreme heat warning extended
Many parts of the country are experiencing sweltering temperatures and little rainfall, with an amber extreme heat warning in place for large parts of southern England and parts of eastern Wales until Tuesday.