Environment Agency bosses say Boston’s tidal barrier will take until 2019 to build – and said repairs wll be made to the town’s current defences.
Politicians vowed to press to get the barrier – which would stop the waterways from being tidal in the town centre – built sooner to prevent a repeat of the sorts of scenes experienced on December 5.
The barrier would slash the chances of Boston flooding from 1 in 50 to 1 in 300 and would have prevented this month’s devastation.
An agency spokesman said that work is going on behind the scenes to deliver the barrier – but said it will take until 2019 to build it.
A spokesman said: “The Boston Barrier is a major project with a lot of work going on behind the scenes.
“A project like this takes years to complete. We plan to have completed all consultation, planning and source the funding to mean construction can be completed by 2019.
“To build the barrier will cost around £90 million. Defra is discussing the ‘whole life’ total cost of the project with the Environment Agency with a view to securing the funding approval as soon as possible. ‘Whole life’ costs include the estimated money needed to maintain and operate the barrier over the next 70 years.
“The Boston Barrier will consist of a tidal barrier within the Haven with two main functions. Firstly to reduce the likelihood of a tidal surge flooding the town; and secondly, to control water levels in the Haven to make navigation on Boston’s waterways easier and safer.”
Meanwhile the Environment Agency has carried out a number of repairs to damaged flood defences.
Temporary repairs were carried out to the landfill site at Slippery Gowt, which nearly sparked a second night of flooding when it breached.
At Bath Gardens in Boston sand bags were placed to temporarily repair the defence while 100 one-tonne bags of sand have been placed in front of the flood-damaged wall near Black Sluice Pumping Station in London Road.
Works are also being carried out near St Ann’s Lane.
At Black Sluice Pumping Station itself, which was flooded resulting in electrical and mechanical failure, works are under way to get two pumps back up and running. This will allow the pumping station, built in 1946 to manage water levels in the South Forty Foot Drain, to operate at more than 50 per cent capacity. Black Sluice Pumping Station is not linked to the risk of tidal flooding.
Mark Robinson, flood and coastal risk management senior advisor, said: “We would like to reassure people that while there is considerable work to be done to repair flood defences in Boston and the surrounding area, we have resources in place and are making every effort to get appropriate measures in place as soon as possible.”