VIDEO: Environment minister breaks the ground to officially start new Boston Flood Barrier works

The Governments Floods Minister has officially started the construction of the new £100 million Boston Barrier today (Monday) by breaking ground at the site.

The minister for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Thérèse Coffey joined a number of guests at the Environment Agency's hub on Marsh Lane, before heading to the bank of the Haven to 'turn the turf'.

The video above shows the moment MP for Boston and Skegness Matt Warman and Toby Willison - executive director of operations for Environment Agency, joined the minister to official start the works.

The massive defence project will protect 14,000 homes and businesses in and around Boston and forms part of a £229 million investment from the Government over the next four years to reduce the risk of flood for Lincolnshire.

Work is already underway to dredge more than 5,000 cubic metres of silt from the Boston Haven to make way for construction.

Over the coming months, 2,000 tonnes of steel sheeting will be put in place to strengthen the riverbanks in preparation for the barrier.

Boston Barrier 'ground breaking' with Floods Minister Therese Coffey. L-R Toby Willison - executive director of operations for Environment Agency, Therese Coffey, MP Matt Warman.

Boston Barrier 'ground breaking' with Floods Minister Therese Coffey. L-R Toby Willison - executive director of operations for Environment Agency, Therese Coffey, MP Matt Warman.

It is expected that works will be complete by the end of 2020, and will make Boston one of the best-protected areas from tidal flooding outside of London.

The scheme will feature a moveable gate across the River Witham together with a new control building to operate the barrier, new flood defence walls on both banks and a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Port of Boston wet dock.

The barrier’s 25-metre wide hydraulic-powered gate, when not in use, will lay flat on the riverbed out of sight, but will be raised to close off the River Witham when flooding is expected, preventing high tides on the North Sea from raising river levels in the town.

For more, see Wednesday's Boston Standard.