Flood barrier ‘needs to be in place as soon as possible’ says leader

Flood defences at Church Keys wine bar and restaurant.
Flood defences at Church Keys wine bar and restaurant.

A potential storm surge which could have seen parts of Boston flooded ‘stresses the importance of getting the flood barrier in place’ says the town’s council leader.

A storm surge, which was set to coincide with high tides and other weather phenomena resulted in a number of flood alerts and warnings being sent out from Thursday afternoon to Saturday morning – including one for waterside properties between Town Bridge and Haven Bridge.

Boston Stump volunteers putting eveything back after preparing for potential tidal surge flood. L-R Kerry Bateman, John Knight and Rev Alyson Buxton.

Boston Stump volunteers putting eveything back after preparing for potential tidal surge flood. L-R Kerry Bateman, John Knight and Rev Alyson Buxton.

The fear was that the defences could see water ‘overtopping’ them however, as time progressed the weather changed enough so that events did not coincide as they could have done.

Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford described how officers including chief executive Phil Drury were sent to the incident command centre in Lincoln where they relayed information.

He said: “I think everybody reacted absolutely brilliantly.”

He added: “The whole lot worked together but it does stress the need for the flood barrier to be in place as soon as possible. Had it been in place we would not necessarily have had the flood warnings.”

The Boston Barrier Partnership (Environment Agency, Lincolnshire County Council, Boston Borough Council and Black Sluice IDB) are looking to deliver the £100 million barrier by December 2019.

The barrier on the River Witham - alongside the town’s dock and London Road near Newton’s Corner - aims to reduce the risk of tidal flooding to approximately 900 commercial properties and 14,300 residential properties in Boston.

Residents in Boston were quick to react, with many in the affected area who had learnt from the 2013 surge erecting floodgates and putting up sandbags.

Boston Stump rallied around 20 volunteers and staff to help move valuable items within the church to higher ground.

In reaction to the potential incident, which was predicted to affect East Coast areas from Gibraltar Point to Donna Nook the most, emergency services, council’s, the Environment Agency and even the army worked together.

Standing down the response on Saturday, chief constable Neil Rhodes said: “I would like to thank the public for listening, remaining vigilant and supporting others in the local community.

“Although we were fortunate and thankfully didn’t experience any flooding our preparations were correct – this could have been far more serious. Lincolnshire should be extremely proud of the efforts of all involved.”