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A barrier to poverty?

The Boston Barrier is a flood defence scheme that provides the Lincolnshire town with one of the highest standards of protection against tidal flooding in the UK, improving community resilience and wellbeing in the face of sea level rise and the likely increased frequency of tidal surges.

Project Boston Barrier, Lincolnshire, England

Client Environment Agency

ExpertiseProject and stakeholder management, design, environmental impact assessment, hydraulic modelling

The new defences are also a barrier to poverty. One in six UK homes are at serious risk of flooding – that’s 5.2 million households. People on low incomes are particularly exposed, finding it harder than others to recover after a flooding event and living longer in temporary accommodation. Boston is vulnerable to tidal surges in the North Sea and, in December 2013, more than 800 properties in the town were flooded as the east coast experienced the most serious surge for 60 years.

Boston also has some of the most deprived neighbourhoods in UK. Many people living there cannot get house insurance even if they could afford it, a flood event can tip them into poverty, making life even more precarious for anyone barely surviving economically. The Boston Barrier will protect more than 14,000 properties, keeping households safe from future tidal flooding whatever their socio-economic conditions.

Flood defences protect local businesses and jobs, supporting economic growth and prosperity. At least £1M of construction work on the project has been undertaken by businesses located within 64km of Boston.


Properties protected

The Environment Agency is aiming for all its projects to reduce embodied carbon by 40%. Our innovative solutions – revising the steel piling system and reducing concrete – have reduced the carbon footprint of the Boston Barrier, saving 3570tCO2e of embedded carbon.

Findings from our environmental impact assessment influenced the barrier’s design to ensure there were no significant adverse impacts, including to the WASH, the largest estuarine system in the UK and a site of special scientific interest. Fish refuges were installed to minimise impact on migratory fish.

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