The British government declared drought in parts of southern, eastern and central England on Friday as the country, unaccustomed to such intense heat, endured another day of scorching conditions. From the report: The declaration came after a group of officials and experts, including the National Drought Panel, met to discuss the government’s response to the “driest summer in 50 years”, the Environment Agency said in a statement. Extreme heat warnings were also issued for parts of southern England and Wales, just weeks after Britain suffered some of its hottest temperatures on record. “We are currently experiencing a second heatwave after what was the driest July on record in parts of the country,” UK Water Secretary Steve Double said in a statement released after a meeting of the drought panel.
“The government and other partners are already taking measures to combat the drought,” he added. A drought declaration will allow water companies to implement stricter conservation measures. Several water supply companies have temporarily banned the use of hoses for watering yards and gardens and for washing vehicles. The Met Office, the UK’s national weather service, issued an extreme heat warning until Sunday for much of the southern half of England and parts of Wales, stressing that the sharp rise in temperatures could not only hamper travel but also increase the risk of heat-related illness for certain groups.