Hope for Boston barrier lock?
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.