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Boston Barrier: Main elements finalised

Work on plans for Boston's tidal flood barrier is progressing, with main elements of the scheme finalised so that design work can be completed.

The barrier is part of a phased approach to reduce the risk of tidal flooding to 20,000 properties in Boston over the next 100 years.

It remains on track to be completed by the end of 2019. An environmental statement is being produced to confirm the environmental impact of the project - this will accompany the Transport and Works Act Order Application to the Secretary of State in early 2016.

The Boston Barrier partnership has agreed to prioritise building a tidal flood defence barrier and take a phased approach towards holding water behind the barrier (called water level management WLM) in the future. 

Discussions were taking place with Boston Fishing Fleet to relocate them to a new facility downstream of the barrier. But this only needs to happen when water level management is revisited in the future as day-to-day water levels are no longer impacted by the scheme.

An area will be created next to the barrier so that fish will be able to pass in the future as part of water level management.

An area next to the barrier will also be created so that a lock can be installed in the future if it is needed for water level management.

There will be no impact on navigation to and from The Wash because the barrier will normally be flat on the riverbed (it will only be raised to reduce the risk of tidal flooding). Navigation will be maintained during the construction of the barrier.

Lincolnshire County Council has earmarked £11 million towards the economic benefits of keeping water at consistent levels between Grand Sluice and Black Sluice Pumping Station and has decided to adopt a phased approach.

Boston would benefit even further if it was able to create deep water moorings which would encourage visitors to stay for longer in the town. These could be used by boats travelling from inland or the sea, and will attract many more tourists and businesses.

Water level management in Boston would also be needed to deliver the Fens Waterways Link (FWL), which aims to create a major new network of non-tidal waterways between Lincoln, Boston, Peterborough, Cambridge and Ely. Both projects are closely linked and require a greater level of commitment from central Government.

The county council says it continues to work towards WLM as a long-term aim, but it is a complex issue which will take much longer to deliver than the Boston Barrier options to deliver it. Other ways to enable boats to navigate through Boston will now be explored separately and involve in-depth consultation with local stakeholders and the public. 

The management of the South Forty Foot Drain and the future of Black Sluice pumping station are currently under review, and the county council is taking part in that process to ensure decisions made don't unnecessarily limit WLM.

Once it is known what WLM options could be achieved, a full study will be commissioned, looking at all the opportunities and constraints along the waterfront and further into Boston.

A new Boston Barrier Community Hub is to be opened in Marsh Lane, Boston, in August with barrier experts available on Wednesdays between 10am to 4pm to answer any questions about the project. Call 07747 640663 to book an appointment with the project team.

A survey has been concluded looking for reptiles around the proposed site for the barrier. There are six native species of reptile which are protected by law. Adders, grass snakes, common lizards and slow worms are all legally protected in the UK and are the species most likely to be present around the proposed site of the barrier. Smooth snakes and sand lizards are also European protected species but are not expected to be present. 

The Boston Barrier project team is available to answer any questions. Contact Boston.Barrier@environment-agency.gov.uk or 07747 640663.

You can also keep up to date with Boston Barrier news on social media - 
Twitter - @BostonBarrierEA and 
Facebook - www.facebook.com/BostonBarrier