Boston’s £100 million flood barrier’s proposed location is not the ‘common sense’ option, according to one of the town’s MEPs.
UKIP’s Derek Clark believes that the barrier should be at the mouth of the River Haven and feels the planned site just down stream from Black Sluice Lock focusses too much on the Environment Agency’s planned ‘Fens Waterway Link’ - linking Lincoln to Cambridge through Boston to boost leisure and tourism.
Mr Clark said: “It evens dreams of commercial barges travelling the route but at a maximum speed of three mph I hope they will carry nothing perishable.
“The problem with the barrier is really about its location, a common sense opinion by many using the Haven is it should be as near the mouth as possible but the EA wishes it to be just downstream of the Black Sluice Lock which would maintain access to the South Forty Foot and provide a vital part of the Fens Waterway Link.”
He feels the current location leaves parts of the town – such as South End, Skirbeck Road, Tower Gardens, the Grammar School and Bath Gardens – prone to flooding.
Mr Clark said the scheme also endangers Fishtoft and Wyberton along with Riverside Industrial Estate, parts of Wyberton Low Road and Marsh Avenue.
The EA says it will build up the defences along the six-mile strip either side of the Haven out to the Wash.
Mr Clark argues: “The only thing at risk from a barrier at the mouth of the Haven would be some salt marshes. Which is more important, marshes or houses? It begs the question, is this really flood defence or a waterway link that rids Boston of a muddy scar through the town centre?”
An EA spokesman said the barrier’s primary function is flood protection but an important secondary function is to manage water levels in the Haven to help safe navigation.
They said: “Water level management is important for Boston because it will help to grow the local economy by providing a more attractive waterfront. It’s also an important step towards the Fens Waterways Link, which will attract many new visitors to the area.Lincolnshire County Council and Boston Borough Council both recognise the importance of this project as a catalyst to Boston’s regeneration.”
The spokesman said it will be built by 2019, adding: “The barrier and the future associated works will give Boston and surrounding communities down to the mouth of The Haven one of the best standards of protection from tidal flooding in the country.”