Severn Trent lifts ban on hosepipes

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The Independent Online
Hosepipe bans affecting 3 million people across four counties have been lifted. The relaxation in restrictions comes into force in Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire with immediate effect.

Announcing the move yesterday, Severn Trent Water thanked its customers for helping to conserve supplies after the ban was imposed during last summer's drought.

In March, restrictions were removed from the five other counties under the company's control. But homes with garden sprinklers or swimming pools will now require water meters across the whole region.

Severn Trent, which last month joined the takeover battle for South West Water, said the easing in controls was due to a pounds 150m drought investment programme. The company has faced criticism from Ofwat, the industry's regulator, over its poor leakage and supply record. The extra provision followed the announcement that profits in the first half of last year rose 75 per cent to pounds 189m.

Meanwhile, last night in the Yorkshire Water area a hosepipe ban was extended to cover the whole supply area in an attempt to stave off the drought which is already threatening the region. As well as the hosepipe ban, which brings East Yorkshire and the remaining parts of North Yorkshire into line with the rest of the region, the company has announced a new pounds 70m investment package in an attempt to avoid rota cuts this summer.