A PANEL of experts has said the county needs to invest in infrastructure and start thinking about where homes are built to prevent a repeat of last winter's floods.
Flood and environment experts met at a public forum at the Pool Innovation Centre on Thursday to discuss flood prevention in Cornwall.
The group, which included representatives of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Cornwall Council, South West Water, damage restoration experts and an insurer, answered questions from the public and spoke about building in flood risk areas, sewerage and issues surrounding the capping of mine shafts.
The event was organised by Redruth firm Richfords Fire and Flood.
Alan Goddard, managing director of insurance company Cornish Mutual, said: "The solution to the problem is that, as a nation, we need to think long and hard about where we spend our money to make sure that insurance companies can assess risk which has been managed correctly at the ground level.
"In other words, we've got to start investing in infrastructure, we've got to start encouraging people to stop concreting driveways and we've got to think long and hard about where we build houses."
Ideas such as using non-permeable materials for internal floors to minimise flood damage were also suggested.
George Eustice, MP for the Camborne and Redruth constituency and Under-Secretary of State for natural environment, water and rural affairs, said: "I think it's a really important debate because we've had the wettest winter for 250 years, huge problems with coastal flooding and also flooding from rivers as well this year – and I think it's fantastic that a local firm has organised this.
"There were many local issues that came up, including possible flooding after the capping of mine shafts at developments – I hadn't heard that one before, so that's something I'm going to look into – and also a very strong feeling here that we need to be cautious when we plan developments."