Driest first six months in 80 years

Britain has experienced the driest first six months of the year for more than 80 years.

Met Office figures showed the average rainfall across the country was 356.8mm, making it the driest start to the year since 1929 and the second driest in a century.

The long-term average for January to June is 511.7 mm.

The dry conditions, caused by a lack of Atlantic weather systems, have led to low levels in reservoirs and pressure on water supplies in some parts of the country, including the North-west.

Last week millions of householders were warned of a possible hosepipe ban after the "Biblical floods" in Cumbria were followed by a summer drought. Water levels in many of the county's reservoirs and lakes have plummeted to less than half their capacity.