Yorkshire's flood-hit residents hit out at 'miserable' failure of defences as Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers visits region

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Residents affected by floods spoke of being "at breaking point" as the Environment Secretary visited Yorkshire on Wednesday.

Theresa Villiers visited Mytholmroyd in Calder Valley, one of the region's several locations to be ravaged by floods this week in the aftermath of Storm Ciara.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers visits flood-hit Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire on Wednesday

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers visits flood-hit Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire on Wednesday

Despite describing the impact of flooding on the area as "traumatic", Ms Villiers was grilled by desperate residents and business-owners demanding to know why the area's £74m flood defences were not completed in time.

Work on the defences started in Autumn 2017 - nearly two years after parts of Yorkshire were devastated by the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service meanwhile has suffered an 11.2 per cent cut in its annual funding since 2016, according to the Fire Brigades Union.

Speaking at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, Ms Villiers did her best to reassure residents and businesses alike that the government was doing "all it can to help".

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers visits flood-hit Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire on Wednesday

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers visits flood-hit Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire on Wednesday

She said: "We've committed £74 million in flood defences for Calder Valley.

"We've every confidence the defences for the Mytholmroyd scheme will be completed this summer.

"Once delivered these defences will provide better protection against flooding for businesses and people within the area.

"It's important to recognise what's happened to Calder Valley, particularly Mytholmroyd, has been traumatic."

Mytholmroyd resident Rita Gill outside her flood-hit home on Monday

Mytholmroyd resident Rita Gill outside her flood-hit home on Monday

But the assurances were not enough for some local residents, who claimed the flood defences had "failed miserably".

Roger Barr, 75, lives in Mytholmroyd in a property sitting between the Rochdale canal and the River Calder, said: "There's no way I could live here anymore, it's too dangerous.

“The Environment Agency (EA) have not listened to the concerns raised by people living in Mytholmroyd.

“The defences have failed miserably."

It comes after Ms Villiers admitted on Tuesday that that "more needs to be done" to protect Yorkshire's communities vulnerable to floods.

Areas including the Calder Valley, York, Kirkstall in Leeds, and Doncaster have all suffered the impacts of floods in recent months.

She added: "There needs to be confident in the government.

"We're doing all we can do to help the public.

"I'd also like to recognise the efforts of the emergency services."

Craig Whittaker, Conservative MP for the Calder valley, said: "There's been a £117 million hardcore investment for the whole of Calder Valley, which has been fully funded by the government.

"I wouldn't say the flood defences have failed because they're not completed yet.

"The flood defence project for Mytholmroyd has taken far too long - it's a mess.

"I can confirm the flood defence engineering work for Hebden Bridge is set to start this year.

"Once completed there are no guarantees with nature, especially around this region which is prone to flooding, but we'll continue to make sure businesses and homes are better protected."