Tougher hosepipe ban rules on the horizon

Hosepipe ban rules are about to get tougher as the filling of private pools and even the washing of "personal watercraft" are added to the list of what not to do with a hosepipe during a drought.

The Government has revised the rules after householders affected by last summer’s hosepipe bans protested over their inconsistency. Although winter rains have now replenished supplies, droughts could come back with a vengeance as climate change kicks in, Defra said.

Hosepipe bans which affected millions across Southern England over the summer months applied only to gardening and car-washing: they outlawed using a hose to water a garden but allowed for domestic swimming pools to be filled in the same way.

The new revised version would see the ban extend to the use of hosepipes for washing private “boats, personal watercraft and other recreational water craft,” as well as filling domestic swimming pools, paddling pools and hot tubs.

Environment minister Ian Pearson said that the original rules, which date back to 1945, need to be revised to account for a change in the way hosepipes are used since the post-war period. The rules need to be clear and “common sense” if people are to follow them, he said:

“Gardeners no doubt feel that they have borne the brunt of water use restrictions over the last two years. We were often asked to explain why a gardener could not water plants though a neighbour could fill a swimming pool by hosepipe.

“For us to rely on that level of goodwill when we face future droughts it is essential that the legislation is clear and unambiguous. People have a right to expect a common sense approach, and I believe these new proposals provide that.”

The new revised rules are subject to consultation until mid-June.

Goska Romanowicz

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