THE Environment Agency has issued flood alerts for the River Piddle and the Lower Avon.

These alerts – warning that flooding is possible and people should be prepared – will remain in force until Friday, or as the situation changes.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "River levels remain high at the Briantspuddle river gauge as a consequence of recent rainfall.

"Water levels are currently being sustained by high groundwater levels, consequently the risk of flooding remains.

"The forecast for the next few days is for more unsettled conditions with further rainfall.

"River levels can rise quickly in response to rainfall.

"Property owners should continue to use any property flood resilience equipment installed."

People have also been warned to avoid using low lying paths and bridges over local watercourses, and to plan driving routes to avoid low lying roads near rivers which may be flooded.

With regard to the Lower Avon flood warning, the Environment Agency also says river levels remain high and are forecast to rise at the Ringwood Old Cottage river gauge as a result of recent rainfall and raised groundwater levels.

A spokesman said: "Consequently, flooding of roads and farmland is possible.

"We expect flooding to affect tributaries between Ringwood and Christchurch.

"We are closely monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are clearing weed screens and checking watercourses."