PEOPLE living in Ringwood near the Lower Avon are being warned not to use low-lying footpaths near watercourses after the Environment Agency placed their area on flood alert.

With more than 12mm or rain predicted on Saturday the Environment Agency said: "River levels remain high at the Ringwood Old Cottage river gauge as a result of recent rainfall. Consequently, the risk of flooding remains.

"Areas most at risk are tributaries between Ringwood and Christchurch. Further rainfall is forecast over the next 48 hours. We expect river levels to remain high over the next few days, and rivers may respond to any additional rainfall. We are closely monitoring the situation. Please avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses."

The information was last updated at 1.03pm yesterday.

Heavy rainfall is expected for much of the UK across the weekend, and the Environment Agency still has 55 flood alerts in place for England, along with 17 more serious warnings, after severe flooding in the past fortnight.