The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has supported industry calls to relax farming regulations during drought to help mitigate the impact of the ongoing heatwave.
It follows the recent agricultural drought summit which discussed the impacts of the prolonged hot and dry weather.
CLA President Tim Breitmeyer joined Environment Secretary Michael Gove and other farming leaders and stakeholders at the specially convened roundtable with Defra, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
“Our members are very concerned by the current extreme weather conditions which are having serious consequences across most farming sectors and affecting food production.
“It is vital to relax the rules and allow farmers and land managers flexibility to abstract water without penalties and to consider early payments from the RPA to assist with cash-flow issues during this heatwave.
“One solution to ease this drought situation which could potentially increase year-on-year due to climate change, is to focus on long-term water management.
“We need investment now to secure future water supplies so that the impact of such extreme weather does not have a detrimental effect on food production and the environment over the next 50 years and more.”
The South East has experienced record-low levels of rainfall. For example, parts of the Thames Valley area received 3mm of rainfall during June, which is just 6% of the Long Term Average (LTA).
CLA South East represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses in Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight.