Cornwall

Prime Minister David Cameron proposes flood text alerts

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Media captionDavid Cameron on flood alerts: "There is an opportunity to do more."

The prime minister has proposed using text alerts to warn residents of heavy rainfall during a visit to flood-hit areas of Cornwall.

David Cameron put forward the idea while visiting residents in Mevagissey and Pentewan.

Prince Charles is also visiting the county to meet people affected by the floods.

The visits came amid fears of further floods in the area, parts of which were overcome by floods on Wednesday.

The Environment Agency released a flood watch for St Austell and Par Rivers at Pentewan, St Blazey, Luxulyan and Lanivet.

The River Fowey at Lostwithiel, the Glynn Valley, Trago Mills and St Neot is also on flood watch and the Met Office is predicting heavy rain on Friday night.

Mr Cameron said he wanted to look at ways of using "text alerts and other ways to get people information about the dangers of flooding".

He said that currently the warnings worked according to river levels whereas "we ought to maybe be giving people warning when we're expecting excessive rainfall".

"They [the Environment Agency] do have information about heavy rainfall coming. It's given to the experts," he said.

"There's a very strong case for saying it should be given to the people."

An Environment Agency spokesman said: "Surface water is a lot harder to predict than flooding from rivers and seas.

"But we are committed to making flood risk information as accessible as possible to the public and on 30 November will launch a new service that provides a three-day ahead assessment of flood risk for all counties in England and Wales.

"It will be updated at least once a day and will be available on the Environment Agency's website."

Prince Charles and business leaders have been in St Blazey and Lostwithiel, some of the worst hit areas.

People became trapped by the floodwaters, which reached up to 6ft (2m) deep in places.

Image caption Prince Charles said his "heart went out" to people affected by the flooding

Prince Charles said: "My heart goes out to all those people who put up with the horror, the filth and their stock being destroyed."

He praised the "wonderful emergency services" and residents who had helped others in the flooding.

"The great thing is that it always brings out the best in people. They all help each other and rush about to make sure people are all right," he said.

"I hope it won't be too long before it will be back to normal."

Cornwall Council said about 230 homes and about 400 businesses had been affected, but that it was "too early" to say how much the clean-up operation would cost.

There were no reports of serious injuries but residents were evacuated and schools around the county were closed.

The county's transport network was also badly disrupted and the Newquay to Par train service remains closed with National Rail providing a bus replacement service.

Environmental attraction the Eden Project, which was closed by flooding, is expected to re-open on 24 November.

Cornwall Council is laying on skips for damaged furniture in Mevagissey, Lostwithiel, St Blazey, Pentewan and Par.

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