The home office, department of the environment, transport and the regions and the ministry of agriculture, fisheries and food, along with the environment agency, share responsibility for dealing with flood protection and the alert system.
But in some areas people did not know their homes were in danger. Among those demanding an explanation are 500 people in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, whose properties were overwhelmed by the waters of the river Leam at 6am.
The environment agency had issued a red alert at 11.15pm, but residents say they were not told. Ron Newby, who lost£10,000 of uninsured restaurant equipment, said: 'Apparently police watched the rising flood water on their CCTV of the town, but it was the responsibility of the district council and no one came to warn us.