Storm Ciara victims in North fuming at Tory failure to tackle flooding nightmare

Devastated families in the North are fuming at the Tories’ failure to stop traumatic floods for the third time since 2012.

Homes and livelihoods were destroyed as the river Calder swept through unfinished £33million defences.

Local Ben Adey said: “It’s like a really bad nightmare.”

Storm-hit families in the North say they are trapped in a ­nightmare after the third ­catastrophic flood in eight years, as Storm Ciara takes its toll.

Labour MP for Halifax, Holly Lynch, said there was a “sense of absolute devastation” and the floods had affected 400 residential properties, 400 businesses, eight schools, two care homes and two bridges.

The areas worst affected were Yorkshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cumbria.

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A yellow weather warning for snow has been issued for parts of the Midlands and eastern England.

One 58-year-old driver was killed when a tree fell on his car in ­Hampshire and a 77-year-old died in ­Clydebank, Glasgow, after falling in icy, windy weather.

Residents of the Calder Valley, West Yorkshire, were on Sunday morning bailing out for the third time in recent years, since a flood in 2012 and a record-breaking repeat on Boxing Day 2015.

Locals yesterday told of their fury at the Environment Agency for taking so long to complete a flood defence costing around £33million.

Two gaps had been plugged using less than a dozen sandbags – which did not hold back the river.

Scaffolding from the defence work, which began in May 2018, was washed away.

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Rebecca Haigh, 35, is livid that her salon Beauty Bank in Mytholmroyd has been flooded for a third time.

She said of the unfinished defences: “The Chinese can build a hospital in a week but this is taking years. The last time it took me five months to get the business back.

“I won’t survive if it takes that long again.” Fellow resident Tony Milroy, who has worked in flood management for 40 years, said: “These flood defences started at the wrong end, they started upstream in Todmorden. It is the wrong design.”

The nearby towns of Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Sowerby Bridge were also badly affected.

"The Environment Agency set off Second World War sirens at 8am on Sunday morning and flood wardens knocked on doors, warning: “Get out.”

Nurse Lynn Robinson, 67, of Mytholmroyd, said: “It feels like a war zone again. It’s just soul-destroying.

“We have not been insured since the first floods in 2012. We’ve had four-and-a-half years of disruption with the flood work but thought something good would come out of it in the end – but then this! We’d just made ourselves redecorate.”

Lisa Thwaites, 44, opened the Blue Teapot six months ago after quitting her corporate job to fulfil her dream of owning a cafe.

It is now flooded and Lisa had to be hauled over a fence to safety by her husband and two other locals. She added: “I’m just devastated. I’ve got insurance but it will only cover about a third of it.”

Vicky Berry, 44, who was helping a friend clean up, said: “I am amazed these flood defences have taken such a length of time and they have spent so much money on something that is not functional.

“There’s a lot of anger in the village. They should listen to us, we don’t think the wall will work. It’s bonkers.”

Ben Adey, 36, opened a bar with partner Ruby Creagh in November.

He said: “It’s almost like you’re having a really bad nightmare. We’ve lost all the stock in the cellar. The flood defences do not work.”

David Adams, who has run David Paul barbers for 45 years, has been flooded three times and, like hundreds of local residents and business owners, cannot get insurance.

The 65-year-old said: “I thought they’d carry me out of here in a box.

“I don’t know what to do now.

“I had no intention of retiring – I like my customers. But it’s so stressful, you don’t know from day to day what is going to happen. I am so angry and ­frustrated about the Environment Agency.”

In Rochdale, Lancashire, a mum was horrified when she discovered a giant sinkhole that looked like the “entrance to Hell”.

The Government has activated a scheme that pays back councils for emergency flood measures.

Asked about gaps in the flood wall, the Environment Agency said: “Following unconfirmed reports of damage to some of the temporary defences in Mytholmroyd, we are working with Calderdale Council and our suppliers to investigate.

“The flooding in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd was caused by more than 100mm of rain falling on already wet ground in the upper Calder catchment in just 12 hours.

“Since 2015, the Government has committed to invest £74million in the Calder Valley.

“Construction in Mytholmroyd is progressing at pace and is expected to be completed by the summer.”

Environment Minister Theresa Villiers said in the Commons that “at least 25,000 properties and businesses” were “successfully protected” by flood defences, adding: “We know more needs to be done and we are determined to deliver.”

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