Farming in spotlight at National Drought Group meeting

Empty reservoir

The government's National Drought Group met in London on 4 June, with farming featuring heavily on the agenda.

The NFU was in attendance. Reporting back, NFU Director General Terry Jones said: “Farmers bear the brunt of the impacts of extreme weather and last summer’s agricultural drought is still fresh in the memory. During the meeting we outlined the serious challenges the farming sector could face with irrigation, water shortage, crop loss and shortage of forage for livestock. We were pleased that farming’s concerns were listened to and hope we can find a way through a potentially difficult summer for farmers who need to abstract water.

“The NFU will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency to ensure farmers have access to water to produce food for the nation and to run their businesses.”

Environment Agency Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan, said: “Ahead of the summer months, the National Drought Group met to agree action to reduce the risk of drought measures and damage to the environment.

“Some rivers and groundwater supplies are below average so the Environment Agency is ready to respond to incidents over the summer and we are supporting farmers where possible by flexing water abstraction licences and with water trading. We welcome action the water companies are taking to ensure maintenance of supply over the coming months.

“The water that comes from the tap is taken from rivers and reservoirs and the amount we use has direct effect on wildlife, the environment and agriculture. The National Drought Group collectively asks industry and the public to use water wisely.”

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