Life-saving warnings about terror attacks and natural disasters are going to be sent out – by text.

Anyone with a mobile phone in a danger zone will hear a loud ding and get a message about the risk.

The new Emergency Alerts service, introduced by the Cabinet Office, will be trialled in East Suffolk starting a week on Tuesday, before it is rolled out nationally later this year.

It will be used to warn of disasters such as the Yorkshire moor fires in April or the floods that hit the UK after Storm Christoph in January.

There will also be warnings about industrial accidents and major police incidents, including terror attacks.

Firefighters battle to control the flames from a moor fire on Marsden moor, near Huddersfield in northern England
Natural disaster warnings would be included in the scheme

The system comes after texts were sent telling people to stay home in the pandemic.

Similar systems have been introduced in the US, Netherlands, Canada, South Korea and Japan. In New Zealand, alerts have been credited with saving lives during earthquakes.

Paymaster General Penny Mordaunt said: “This will be a vital tool in helping us to better respond to emergencies, both nationally and locally.

“It will allow us to more quickly and effectively get life-saving messages to people.”

The texts will be programmed to send extra loud dings or vigorous vibrations and will be sent to anyone in or travelling to a danger area – but recipients’ phone numbers will not be recorded.

They will be broadcast from cell towers close to incidents, using 4G and 5G mobile networks.

They will also have links to sites telling people what to do next.