Hope for Bos­ton bar­rier lock?

Canal Boat - - News -

THE GOV­ERN­MENT HAS an­nounced a pub­lic in­quiry into the En­vi­ron­ment Agency’s planned flood bar­rier across the Witham in Bos­ton, giv­ing those ob­ject­ing to its lack of pro­vi­sion for nav­i­ga­tion a fur­ther op­por­tu­nity to try to in­flu­ence the pro­pos­als.

Un­til 2015, plans for a bar­rier just down­stream of the town in­cluded a par­al­lel lock, al­low­ing nav­i­ga­tion when the bar­rier was in op­er­a­tion. This would have made it pos­si­ble to use the bar­rier not just for flood pre­ven­tion but also to re­tain a nav­i­ga­ble wa­ter level through the town at low tide.

Boating in­ter­ests in­clud­ing the In­land Wa­ter­ways As­so­ci­a­tion ar­gue that this would help re­gen­er­ate the town’s river­sides, im­prove ac­cess to Black Sluice Lock (opened in 2009 as the first stage of the Fens Link pro­ject), and en­able safe nav­i­ga­tion through to the Wash dur­ing the bar­rier’s con­struc­tion and use – and that these ben­e­fits were lost by re­moval of the lock from the EA’s plans in 2015.

IWA Nav­i­ga­tion Com­mit­tee Chair­man Gren Messham has welcomed the Sec­re­tary of State for En­vi­ron­ment, Food and Ru­ral Af­fairs, An­drea Lead­som’s an­nounce­ment that a pub­lic in­quiry will now be held into the plans, call­ing it “great news as it will en­able IWA and oth­ers to put for­ward the case for bet­ter pro­vi­sion for nav­i­ga­tion”.

The in­quiry is ex­pected to take place in early 2017.

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