Leaked documents predict crop failure rates of up to 50% as water companies resist calls to prioritise food production

Experts have warned of widespread crop failures across England, as charities and farmers criticised water companies for dithering over hosepipe bans despite drought being declared across much of the country.

On Friday, the Environment Agency classified eight of the 14 areas of England as being in a drought. Despite this, water companies, including Anglian Water, Southern Water and South West Water have not brought in hosepipe bans. Thames Water said it does not plan to expedite a hosepipe ban expected next week.

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