Last week Cllr Paul Skinner, Leader of the Council visited the Haven Banks Improvement Scheme site to see the works progressing well, with banks downstream of the Boston Barrier site being raised and strengthened out to The Wash.
He was advised how the work so far has included improvements to the sea banks on both sides of the Haven. This has involved stripping the existing topsoil, then building up the core section of the banks with clay before adding new topsoil, and spreading grass seed. Other related works have also included a sheet piled wall near the Jolly Sailor, a replacement outfall at Skirbeck, improvements to the car park at the Pilgrims Memorial, and relocation of the rare Boston Horsetail plant. These works are a vital part of the Boston Combined Strategy which will better protect over 17,000 homes and some of the most fertile farmland in the country.
Cllr Paul Skinner was met by Sam MacAllister, Flood and Coastal Risk Management Officer from The Environment Agency and Jacksons Project Manager Jason Gibson at a safe section of the site where he was talked through the works so far, challenges they met along the way, and how they have worked with partners at the Council to overcome them.
Sam explained how the council and the EA had worked together to agree long term management practices for the embankment to reduce damage to the flood defences and keep them in good repair well into the future. Part of this included a reduction in grazing on council owned land, and improvements to public accessibility around the Pilgrims memorial. The council have offered further support to the project by allocating a plot of land for a compound area to allow contractors to establish a site base right next to the banks.
The works at the Pilgrims site will allow for increased visitor numbers in line with plans to promote the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower and Boston’s important role in the history of the founding of America. Unfortunately the planned celebrations were unable to go ahead this year but keep your eyes peeled for exciting plans for next year. The car park has been increased in size with a new surface laid behind the new bank alignment, and a more resilient footpath surface has been laid to help visitors get from the car park to the memorial and the newly installed interactive artwork will be installed in the coming weeks.
Works are currently in progress to promote the extremely rare Boston Horesetail plant, the only plant out of approximately 1500 species which make up the natural flora of the British Isles which is named after a place in Lincolnshire. Some of the plants have been hand dug and planted at RSPB Frampton, whilst others are being lifted as turfs and will be replanted near Slippery Gowt to try and encourage their wider spread. The plant is only found in the UK at Boston and a site in Somerset.
This essential work is part of the Boston Combined Strategy which also includes the Boston Barrier project. Once both projects are complete, more than 17,000 properties will be better protected from tidal flooding.
Cllr Skinner said, “As our climate continues to change and the predicted sea level rise, it is vitally important that we do all we can to protect our residents, visitors, businesses and property against any future flooding. The Boston Barrier and these riverbank works are a great example of what can be achieved when different partners come together with a common goal.
“As a parish, borough and county councillor and Chairman of Flood and Water I was privileged to visit the site to see the works progress so far and look forward to having many leisurely walks down the bank once the works are complete and re-open to the public”.
Please see below aerial view video of the bank works to date.