Hosepipe ban to start in Yorkshire in two weeks - with fines of up to £1,000 for breaches

A hosepipe ban has been announced for five million Yorkshire Water customers which comes into effect in a fortnight.

The move, brought on by the lowest rainfall in parts of Yorkshire since records began more than 130 years ago, will come into effect on August 26, and as of yet has no end date.

Households will be banned from using a hose to water their plants, fill paddling pools, wash cars or clean driveways.

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Any person who is found to have broken the ban could receive a fine of up to £1,000.

Low water levels at Grimwith Reservoir near Grassington. Picture Tony JohnsonLow water levels at Grimwith Reservoir near Grassington. Picture Tony Johnson
Low water levels at Grimwith Reservoir near Grassington. Picture Tony Johnson

Neil Dewis, Yorkshire Water’s director of water, said: “We’ve been doing everything we can to avoid putting in restrictions but unfortunately, they’re now necessary as part of our drought planning.

“We’re grateful to our customers, who have been saving water where they can this summer. It is really important that we all continue to do so, to help protect our water resources and the environment.”

He added: “Our decision to introduce a hosepipe ban is based on the risk that water stocks continue to fall in the coming weeks and the need to be cautious about clean water supplies and long term river health.”

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Such a ban allows companies like Yorkshire Water to apply for a drought permit from the Environment Agency, which means it can take more water from rivers. The firm said people can still use tap water from a bucket or watering can and businesses can use hosepipes for commercial reasons.

Earlier this week Environment Secretary George Eustice met with water company bosses and urged them to take “precautionary steps” to protect essential water supplies. The National Drought Group, which involves government agencies and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), is set to meet today to discuss the dry weather.

According to the Met Office temperatures are expected to peak at 36C over the weekend. An amber weather warning of extreme heat is in place across parts of West and South Yorkshire until Sunday.

The prolonged heat over recent weeks has seen grass dry out to the extent it has been described as a “tinderbox” which could result in fires across affected areas of the countryside.

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The NFU has urged councils to implement Public Space Protection Orders to ban naked flames in some areas to stop fields going up in flames. A spokesman said: “The potential for more wildfires is increasing significantly,”

Tom Bradshaw, the NFU’s Deputy President, said. “Stubble fields, tinder dry standing crops and parched grass play a huge risk in fires spreading should they start.

“We are urging visitors to rural areas to take extra care this weekend to avoid starting a fire as a dropped match or smouldering barbecue is all that’s needed to start a serious blaze.”

No barbecues or cigarettes, plead National Park bosses

All three of the region’s National Parks have implemented warnings or bans on visitors using cigarettes, barbecues, or discarding glass bottles.

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The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said its ranger team is monitoring the Met Office’s fire severity index, which currently sits at 4, or “very high”.

If it hits the highest level 5, restrictions will be brought in which include suspending people’s “right to roam” the Dales in areas vulnerable to wildfires.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents not to light any fires and refrain from using barbecues. “Once a wildfire starts, with the best will in the world, it won’t stop and will take hold faster than people can run,” said Dave Walton, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer.

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