A study is under way to try to look at the ways Boston’s new £90 million flood barrier can benefit the economy – as an image of how the structure will look is released.
The barrier aims to cut the risk of the type of tidal flooding that devastated the town on December 5 - but will also be used to managed water levels during the boating season to make an attraction of Boston’s waterways.
The long term dream is for Lincoln, Peterborough and Boston to all be linked via the waterways to boost tourism and the study will work with boating clubs and river users to look at how to do that without preventing navigation to and from the Wash.
The barrier - set to be installed just east of the Black Sluice Lock and pictured in the artist’s impression to the right – would be raised once a day after the morning high tide had fallen to the desired level - holding water from the barrier to Grand Sluice.
The barrier would be dropped during the evening high tide when water levels on either side of the barrier are equal. High and low tide would then occur naturally through the town overnight.
Mark Robinson, Environment Agency senior coastal advisor, said: “The Boston Barrier project is moving forward all the time and we’re getting into greater detail to understand every aspect of the potential opportunities that the barrier will bring to the town. Part of this process is to check the original forecast economic benefits in the business case remain accurate as we move towards the final option for how the barrier will work.”
The study is being joint-funded by Lincolnshire County Council, Boston Borough Council and the Environment Agency and is being carried out by Richard Glen Associates.
Coun Colin Davie, Lincolnshire County Council executive member for regeneration, said the project is getting to the ‘interesting and exciting’ stage, adding: “Understanding the fine details is key to making certain that we get best value for Boston and the surrounding area and this analysis will clarify the opportunities and the potential economic benefits they create.”
Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford said: “This piece of work, to which we are contributing, is most timely and begins the groundwork of identifying all the regeneration and economic development opportunities that operation of the tidal barrier can bring to the area. It will also ensure that the barrier is operated in the most effective and beneficial way, during those times when it is not needed for purely flood risk management.
“I know the study team will want to talk to a lot of local people and river users to maximise on knowledge and ideas.”
Findings of the study will be submitted to the Boston Barrier Partnership in the middle of December.