Downing Street has no plans to introduce a hosepipe ban in and around the prime ministers’ residence, the Guardian can reveal, despite ministers calling on water companies to enforce the restrictions.
Thames Water, which supplies No 10, said on Tuesday it would implement water rationing in the coming weeks due to prolonged drought conditions.
When asked if garden hoses would still be used in No 10 Garden or to wash the cars used to transport its residents, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said no ban was currently in place. force, although he added that the household was taking action. to reduce water consumption at the Downing Street site. This did not include the garden hose ban, however, they said.
Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrats’ environment and rural affairs spokesman, has called on Boris Johnson to set an example for the rest of the country by reducing his water usage and emptying the swimming pool at his country residence, Checkers, which is also supplied by Thames Water.
The spokesperson declined to say whether the pool would be emptied, saying that was the Checkers Trust’s business. However, the Prime Minister controls things at Checkers, and Margaret Thatcher stopped heating the pool during an energy crisis that took place when she was Prime Minister.
In a letter to Johnson, Farron said: Your Mansion of Grace and Favor, Checkers, is located in an area that will be subject to a garden hose ban. At a time when millions of people across the country are making sacrifices, it is vital that you show leadership.
As people across the country followed the rules during Covid, you were partying in Downing Street. Now, as millions of people do the right thing and reduce their water consumption, can you confirm if you are committed to doing so at Checkers? Are you going to exclude the use of garden hoses and stop filling your private pool?
It would reek of hypocrisy to continue to maintain a private swimming pool while gardens are drying up, paddling pools remain empty and farmers cannot water their crops.
The whole country is bracing for water restrictions during the record dry weather, with some areas not seeing significant rainfall since June.
Leaked documents seen by the Guardian this week show water companies serving areas from Yorkshire to Dorset have applied for drought permits which would allow them to put in place bans.
This weekend, Environment Secretary George Eustice urged water companies to put restrictions in place. On Wednesday, Eustice said he met with chief executives of water companies to discuss measures put in place to tackle water shortages.
The National Drought Group, which would decide if there is an official drought, meets on Friday.
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