NORTH West Water today said it has no immediate plans to lift its 14-month-old hosepipe ban, despite the fact that neighbouring Yorkshire was to lift its ban from next month.

It was the worst-hit region in the country and Yorkshire Water received massive criticism for its handling of last summer's drought.

However, North West Water is still waiting to meet a range of criteria on water stocks with the Environment Agency before lifting its own ban on hosepipes and sprinklers.

Reservoir stocks in the Pennine region currently stand at just under 44 per cent, compared with 18 per cent last year but less than the normal level for the time of year of 68 per cent.

A North West Water spokesperson said: "The situation is under constant review.

'There are a number of criteria agreed with the Environment Agency which we will have to meet before lifting the ban."

She added: "It has not rained a lot recently. In September we had three weeks without any and this month we have had the odd downpour but no constant rain."

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