COLUMN: It’s vital we get the Boston barrier right

Matt Warman.
Matt Warman.

Anyone who saw the devastation caused by the tidal surge in 2013 will know that the Boston Flood Barrier can’t come soon enough, writes Matt Warman.

Constituents still write to me from homes that are yet to be fully repaired, and my own father-in-law’s teaching at Boston Grammar was disrupted by the damage caused, costing pupils vital time out of their education.

This week the Transport and Works Act Order was launched, meaning that the detailed proposals for the Barrier are now out for consultation. It’s a complex, £100m project that is by many measures the biggest public investment ever made in Boston. It will safeguard huge swathes of the town from flooding, make businesses more likely to invest and ultimately create jobs. It’s vital we get it right, and it’s vital that in due course the Barrier allows the creation of better water level management that will make Boston even more attractive to tourism.

It is fair to point out that with even more money we could have a Barrier that brought faster economic benefits, or protected an even greater area: for me the key factor has to be getting on with the best Barrier we can have in a reasonable timeframe. Jam tomorrow – or in decades to come – will be small comfort if there is another flood in the meanwhile. But that cannot be an excuse - the Environment Agency, the Councils and many others, myself included, will be making sure that when the Barrier is in place by 2019 it is effective, affordable and safe. That’s not least because this investment is symbolic: it’s tax-payers’ money invested for the long-term in an optimistic vision of an ever more prosperous Boston.

Matt Warman is the Member of Parliament for Boston and Skegness.