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The community behind the flood defences

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Flood

Boston barrier community

Following severe storms in December 2013, the east coast endured the most significant tidal surge in 60 years. This affected many coastal towns and communities. Here in Boston, Lincolnshire, over 800 houses were flooded across 55 streets. In any community, the distress and economic cost of flooding lasts long after the water has washed away – we’re no different.

The Environment Agency’s job is to reduce the risk of flooding for people, their homes and businesses. For Boston, we’re planning to build a £90 million tidal defence barrier that will protect 20,000 homes for over 100 years. It’s an exciting project - by December 2019, the barrier should be fully operational, helping Boston weather future storms.

Building the barrier is essential, but it is not the only thing needed for flood prevention. We’re working to get the community signed up to future flood warnings. We’ve been joined by 16 new flood wardens in the area and have seen a 57 per cent increase in registrations to our free flood warning service Floodline. We’ve also created twitter and facebook pages to talk about the barrier and we've also opened the Boston Barrier Community Hub so that anyone can come and find out more about the project.

Boston’s a great place to live and work. There are over 20,000 migrant workers here. We’re in the community making all of our information available in a variety of different languages. We worked with the Polish Consul General and Boston Borough Council on a special event where Polish residents could renew or apply for passports and register for free flood warnings at the same time. The event was promoted widely in the media, the council featured an article in English and Polish in their newsletter, and we registered over 65 Polish residents in Boston to Floodline.

As a result of this community work we’ve been shortlisted for Community Engagement Campaign of the year at the PRmoment Awards and the 2015 Public Sector Communications Awards.

Our focus is now making sure we get our Transport and Works Act Order to the Secretary of State on time. We need this because the Boston Barrier will cross navigation used by the Port of Boston, Boston and District Fishing Association and recreational river users. If this is approved, construction can begin on the barrier in 2017 and be completed by late 2019.

We’re obviously proud to be nominated for an award, but the real reward comes from successfully protecting the community. We never forget about the distress flooding causes to people, so we really want to encourage everyone in Boston to sign up for free flood warnings. You can do that here:


Dominic Burton is a Communications Specialist at the Environment Agency working on the Boston Barrier since the tidal surge on 5 December 2013. Dominic ensures all our stakeholders and the community are involved and consulted on plans for this major tidal flood defence.


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  1. Comment by David C j Matthews posted on

    At some point in the process the EA is required to advertise and let the public comment. You are aware of my opinion and that of the fishermen and boat owners who have considerable concerns. Please confirm how we will be able to comment.

    • Replies to David C j Matthews>

      Comment by daveferguson posted on

      Hello, thanks for contacting us

      When the Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application is submitted, members of the public will be able to make representations.

      The current intention is for the TWAO application to be submitted in spring/summer 2016, most likely in June. Once the application is made, notifications will appear in the local press, site notices will be erected and affected statutory bodies and landowners will also receive notices.
      A copy of the relevant documents will also be made available for inspection locally. A period of at least 42 days from the date the application is made will be fixed. During this period it will be possible to make representations, including objections about the proposals.
      The deadline for making representations will be explained in the various notices.
      The decision whether or not to hold a public inquiry to consider any objections made, and not withdrawn, will then be taken by the Secretary of State.
      In the meantime, you are more than welcome to get in touch with the Boston Barrier Project Team direct at


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