The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has supported industry calls to relax farming regulations to reduce the pressure on farmers caught up in the effects of the drought.

CLA president Tim Breitmeyer discussed the impacts of the hot and dry weather with Environment Secretary Michael Gove at an agricultural drought summit yesterday (August 1).

Breitmeyer joined other farming leaders and stakeholders at a specially-convened roundtable with Michael Gove, Defra, the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).

Serious consequences

He said: “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 the 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.”