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Page last updated at 08:51 GMT, Thursday, 16 February 2012

'We're planning for the worst'


The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is calling a crisis summit to deal with the worst drought in Britain since 1976 and the Environment Agency say they are "planning for the worst".

The Today programme's Andrew Hosken reports from Chesham, Buckinghamshire, where the River Chess is dry and hears how the situation there is looking "desperate" because of a lack of rain.

Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, told the Today programme's James Naughtie that they are taking the unusual step of moving fish out of some rivers, something which is out of the ordinary in February, because of the low levels of water.

He said it was down to the fact that we are reaching the end of the second consecutive dry winter and has had serious implications and is starting to affect farmers.

He went on to say that the picture of where drought is worst is patchy but regional with the worst affected areas being in the east of England, large parts of the midlands and the south east.

Paul Valleley, director of water services at Anglia Water said they were monitoring the situation in their area very closely and that the likelihood of a hosepipe ban in the East of England is ever increasing.

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