The Government have confirmed that is has approved the highly debated £100 million flood barrier, which is intended to protect over 14,000 properties in Boston.
Work is set to begin on the Boston Barrier, planned by the Environment Agency, from January after Michael Gove, the Government’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) approved the Transport and Works Act Order to grant powers to construct and operate the barrier.
The new barrier is said to feature a moveable gate across the River Witham (also known as the Haven), together with a new control building to operate the barrier, new flood defence walls on both banks and a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Port of Boston wet dock.
This is good news for the 14,000 home and business owners who will now be better protected from flooding and Boston’s new state-of-the-art defences will help attract investment, benefitting the wider area. This is one of the many flood schemes being built in Lincolnshire and there are investments being made of £229 million over six years to better protect communities across the county.
The scheme has previously met with opposition, including from the fishing community and some have questioned the positioning of the barrier, believing it to be in the wrong place. Others have said that water level management should remain a part of the project as soon as possible. However, there is confidence that the Barrier will make Boston one of the best protected areas from flooding outside of London.
The Boston Barrier scheme is an inspiring example of collaborative work between the Environment Agency, councils, businesses and the local community. Boston has suffered a number of tidal floods in its history, most recently, in 1953 and again in 1978. In 2013, defences were over-topped, damaged or breached and endangered more than 800 properties across 55 streets and sparked called for something to be done to protect Boston.
Following approval for the scheme’s full business case from HM Treasury last week, the contract for the project has been awarded to Bam Nuttall and Mott MacDonald joint venture (BMMJV). They are looking forward to delivering the innovative flood protection scheme and have a proven track record of success, having recently completed phase one of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme.