Open menu Open menu

Boston Barrier

The multi-million pound Boston Barrier will reduce the risk of flooding in Lincolnshire.


Boston has a history of tidal flooding. The town flooded in 1953, again in 1978 and more recently during the tidal surge on 5 December 2013. Flood defences through the town average around 6.00 metres above ordnance datum (AOD). The height of the 2013 tidal surge reached 6.08 metres AOD and caused extensive flooding in the town when defences were over-topped, damaged or breached. As a result, over 800 properties flooded across 55 streets. If the Boston Barrier had been in place on 5 December 2013 then it would have prevented the flooding.

Scheme update

Transport & Works Act Order

The Project Team submitted an application for a Transport and Works Act 1992 order (TWAO) on the 23rd August, 2016. The TWAO, if granted, would authorise the Agency to construct and operate a new tidal barrier with a moveable gate across the river Witham (also known in this location as the Haven), together with a new building to enable operation of the barrier, new flood defence walls on both banks of the Haven, a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Wet Dock and to execute ancillary works, including dredging of the river.

As part of the application process, the Secretary of State at the time, Andrea Leadsom, decided that a public inquiry into the Boston Barrier Transport and Works Order application.

A computer generated image of Boston Barrier looking upstream. Image Credit, Environment Agency

The Public Inquiry was held by Inspector Mike Robbins at the Boston Barrier Hub from Wednesday 19th April and was officially closed on Wednesday 31st May. The Public Inspector now has up to three months to write a report for consideration of the new Secretary of State, Michael Gove. There is a programmed TWAO outcome date of November 2017.

Boston Combined Strategy

The £198million Boston Combined Strategy (BCS) was approved in March 2008. The purpose of the BCS is to “determine a 100 year strategy approach to flood risk management and navigation improvements in Boston.” The strategy identified a multi-functional barrier that both reduces tidal flood risk and manages water levels, as the best solution for addressing flood risk management and waterway objectives in Boston.

The BCS identified five phases of work:

  • Phase 1 – New navigation link between The Haven and South Forty Foot Drain (Black Sluice Lock) completed 2009 with EU funding;
  • Phase 2 – Capital works for urgent repairs to sustain flood assets at high risk of failure within Boston town centre (separate Sustain PAR business case approved via PAB on 28th September 2012 and completed 2014) with FDGiA funding;
  • Phase 3 – Multi-functional barrier within The Haven: dual function of partial tidal exclusion barrage for water level control to enable safe navigation and tidal surge barrier. The flood defence barrier will be delivered by this project. Water Level management will be added at a future date;
  • Phase 4 – New Waterways facility facilities (moorings etc.) along the waterfront (to be delivered as a separate project with Water Level Management at a future date);
  • Phase 5 – Raising of embankment levels downstream of barrier at an appropriate future time (to be a separate project and funded separately.)

Key dates

July 2016 —August 2017

  • Announcement of Design & Build contract award

August 2017 — Late 2017

  • TWAO application and inspector’s report considered by Secretary of State and decision

Late 2017 — December 2019

  • Construction of barrier and associated works

Local Designations

Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Promoting an understanding and appreciation of Norfolk's natural beauty and the importance of local sustainable development. Image credit, C. Knights More

RAMSAR Wetlands sites

Gibraltar Point, The Wash and North Norfolk have been designated RAMSAR sites to protect their wetlands and associated resources. Image Credit, S. Bosley. More

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

Gibraltar Point, The Wash and North Norfolk have been designated SSSI's in recognition of their important ecological and geological value to the UK. Image credit, C. Knights More

National Nature Reserves

Gibraltar Point, The Wash, Titchwell, Holme , Holkham, Cley and Blakeney coasts have all been designated NNR's to protect their habitats, species and geology. More

If you have any questions please get in touch.

[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]