PRESS RELEASE: IWA Raises Navigation Concerns in Boston Barrier Proposals

Issue date: 7th October 2016

The Inland Waterways Association has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs objecting to the current form of proposals for a tidal barrier on the River Witham at Boston in Lincolnshire due to concerns over the impact on navigation.

While the need for a tidal surge barrier at Boston is clear, IWA has said that the application as submitted, along with the associated Navigational Risk Assessment, does not adequately or accurately set out or mitigate the risks to navigation represented by the construction and operation of the proposed barrier. In addition, the application does not appear to correctly represent the risks of fluvial flows and flooding in the River Witham once the barrier is in place. Up to early 2015, plans for Boston’s tidal surge barrier included a parallel lock and improvements to the water front in Boston which could have mitigated these concerns.

Among a list of specific concerns expressed by IWA are a lack of detail on water flow velocities around the barrier, the proposed minimum 18 metres width of the coffer dam by-pass channel, the lack of information on what is actually to be put in place by the project to manage transit by water during the construction period, and the risk of collision due to excessive flows and short sight-lines with the barrier location on a bend in the Haven.

Gren Messham, Trustee and Chairman of IWA’s Navigation Committee, said “IWA considers that in the absence of firm and detailed proposals to address and mitigate navigational risk, and given the concerns of local individuals, organisations and regulatory bodies, there is insufficient evidence to allow the Order to proceed without further investigation.”

IWA has asked that the application be further investigated by inquiry, hearing or written representations and needs to be conducted on the complete facts and merits of the safety case for navigation.  IWA hopes that its considered comments will result in a better and more complete outcome of the TWAO application and statement of case.

Read IWA’s full response to the consultation on the Order.



Site of the proposed tidal barrier at Boston. Photo by Gren Messham

Higher resolution version and alternative images available on request.

Press Contact

For further information please contact Alison Smedley, Press Office, The Inland Waterways Association, by emailing or phoning 07779 090915.

Notes for Editors

The Inland Waterways Association

IWA is The Inland Waterways Association, a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.  IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations.  The Association also provides practical and technical support to restoration projects through its expert Waterway Recovery Group.
IWA - Keeping our waterways alive

Site of the proposed tidal barrier at Boston. Photo by Gren Messham

Higher resolution version and alternative images available on request.