Soaring temperatures and CO2 shortages are set to hamper Brits’ hopes of a barbecue summer.
Lettuce is now the latest product in a long line set to disappear from supermarket shelves in the coming weeks.
The British Leafy Salad Growers Association warn it is too hot for heads to grow – at a time when 90per cent of our salads are normally grown in the UK and demand soars for the leaves in summer recipes.
It follows beer, soft drinks, chicken, pork and even crumpets after CO2 stocks, used in food production, began to run low, limiting choice for shoppers last week.
And water firms even warn there could be hosepipe bans in the offing, as supplies in reservoirs run dry in the baking sunshine.
Unusually high temperatures have boosted demand for leafy salads at the same time as 30C temperatures have stopped the UK crop growing.
Growers say they may have to import leaves from the US to make up the shortfall, after 18million lettuces were sold in the UK last week – 40per cent more than last year.
Broccoli and cauliflower crops have also been affected by the weather.
BLSGA spokesman Dieter Lloyd said it “looks entirely likely that there will be shortages” from the “middle to end of next week”.
Meanwhile Britain is facing a water shortage unless people turn off the taps and conserve supplies.
The first hosepipe ban kicked in yesterday (SAT) when households in Northern Ireland were told utility companies were pumping millions of litres into supplies with no sign of rain in sight.
In England, United Utilities which covers the north west of England appealed to customers yesterday (sat) to help them avoid a hosepipe ban – by not using their hosepipes.
Before that the most recent ban was imposed across southern and eastern England back in 2012 due to widespread droughts.
They also urged people to take showers rather than baths this weekend, turn off sprinklers and not wash cars.
The company say the north west used an extra half-billion litres yesterday as the heatwave continues.
Bosses say they are putting more than 500m litres a day extra into the a system to keep pace with demand, double the amount they were putting in earlier this week.
The region is currently getting through a record-breaking 2.2bn litres a day, they said.
In a statement the company said: “The demand is so high, particularly during peak times, that we are struggling to get enough water around the system quick enough.
“If we can all do our bit this will reduce the risk of lower water pressure or no water at all.”
Other water companies have asked customers to conserve supplies by not using hosepipes or water sprinklers with the hot weather looking set to last for another two weeks.
Severn Water has set up bottled water collection points after some parts of Staffordshire and Shropshire saw supplies temporarily interrupted as a result of high demand.
A spokesman said: “We’re set for another hot weekend, and, with demand for water really high, we’re producing millions of extra litres.
“We’re asking customers to be careful with their water and for now avoid using the garden sprinkler or hosepipe.”
Customers in some parts of the Home Counties have also seen interruptions to supply or low pressure as a result of soaring demand in peak periods.
Thames Water has pumped an extra 450 million litres of water into its network across London and the Thames Valley to cope with a record surge in demand.
It said it does not expect to have to impose restrictions but is urging people to think about how they use water and how they can save it.
Andrew Tucker, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, said: “We’re doing all we can to keep enough water flowing through our network during this very hot spell, which often makes people worry.
‘The good news is that the rain we had in winter and spring really helped to fill our reservoirs and recharge groundwater levels, so we don’t expect them to become so low that we have to impose temporary restrictions.
“But, to be absolutely sure, we all need to think about how we use water and how we could save it.
“Making just a few small changes to your routine, while also enjoying the sunshine, will make a big difference and help us keep up with demand and avoid the risk of water restrictions later.”
Crumpets are on of the latest victims of a carbon dioxide shortage, which is affecting food and drink production across the country.
Warburton’s had to end production at two out of four of its plants because it ran out of carbon dioxide, which is important for packaging the crumpets.
The 142-year-old bakery, which has its headquarters in Bolton, Greater Manchester, normally supplies 1.5 million crumpets a week to UK consumers but has had to slash this to around 750,000.
The firm is unsure when they’ll have enough CO2 to resume a full service.
The CO2 crisis has already hit pubs across Europe.
Some Wetherspoons bars are temporarily without John Smith’s and Strongbow cider during the World Cup.
The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said brewers were “working their socks off” to keep the booze flowing.
Scotland’s biggest abattoir is closed and other meat producers are considering adapting their products to use less CO2.
Some food and drink firms have asked whether the government could help alleviate the problem.
“If a similar issue were to affect the water industry… then you feel government would be acting with far greater urgency,” the Food and Drink Federation said.
Meanwhile the heatwave is expected to continue into next week – though a severe yellow weather warning is in place for thunderstorms on Sunday across South West England, and South Wales from 6am – 10pm.
A maximum temperature of 28C is predicted in Cardiff tomorrow.
A spokesperson said: “Heavy showers and thunderstorms may affect parts of South West England during Sunday morning, becoming more widespread and also spreading into South Wales by the afternoon.
The Met Office warned that those affected by the storms should be aware of the risk of flooding, power cuts and treacherous conditions on the road,
A forecaster said: “30 to 40 mm of rain in an hour is possible, though the scattered nature of the showers means it is not certain where these higher totals and any impacts may occur.”
The weather agency predict highs of up to 27C in Manchester today – and temperatures will remain around the mid-20s going into next week for many regions across England, including Yorkshire, London and the South East, the West Midlands and the South West.
In Scotland, Glasgow is expected to see highs of 23C on Wednesday, and Edinburgh will remain cooler – with temperatures in the high teens from Monday, but expected to reach 20C by Friday.
Gritters have been sent out to protect road surfaces as in some parts of the country they have started melting in the heat.
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