Labour calls for COBRA meeting as temperatures surge

·2 min read
Labour calls for COBRA meeting as temperatures surge

Labour has called for a COBRA meeting to discuss the impact of the prolonged heatwave on water supplies across the country.

Speaking on Saturday, deputy leader, Angela Rayner has called on the Government to act amid fears drought conditions may last until next year.

With drought conditions declared across eight regions, Ms Rayner accused the Government of having “no forward planning”.

She said: “This is the second major heatwave in weeks but this Tory government is failing our country yet again. Conservative inaction on drought warnings is creating a dust bowl Britain.

“Instead of stepping in, ministers have fallen asleep in the midday sun. They lecture the public on the use of hosepipes, but where is their plan to protect our vital water system.

“It has been nearly a year since they launched their National Resilience Strategy consultation and yet they don’t have a single plan. They are all spin and no substance.”

Devon and Cornwall, Solent and South Downs, Kent and south London, Hertfordshire and north London, East Anglia, Thames, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire, and the east Midlands have all been placed in drought conditions.

Three water companies – Welsh Water, Southern Water, and South East Water – have all imposed hosepipe bans, while Yorkshire Water has announced a ban will start on August 26 and Thames Water is planning one in the coming weeks.

Executive director for local operations at the Environment Agency, John Curtin, warned the UK must have “weeks of rain” in order to replenish water supplies.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World At One, Mr Curtin said: “Mainly it is a signal that this is not a normal summer now, so that water will be an issue and probably will be an issue for months ahead, depending how the winter goes.”

He added: “It all depends on the weather I’m afraid. There will be heavy showers probably Monday, Tuesday next week.

“But please, don’t think that will stop the drought because we’re talking about that we’ve lost a week’s worth of rain and it’ll take weeks of rain, we’ll need probably average or slightly above average rainfall this autumn into this winter for us to not be in a drought next year.”

Due to the high temepratures, the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for large parts of the country, while London is expected to reach 34C on Saturday and Sunday.