A public inquiry into the proposed £100 million Boston Barrier is set to begin today.
The four-week inquiry will look into the scheme which aims to reduce the risk of tidal flooding to over 17,000 properties in the area.
The Environment Agency asked the Secretary of State to grant powers to construct and operate the Boston Barrier through a Transport and Works Act Order in 2016.
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Andrea Leadsom, has decided a public inquiry should be held into the order.
Work would see a new tidal barrier constructed with a moveable gate across the River Witham and a new building to enable operation of the barrier.
The project would also include construction of new flood defence walls on both banks of the Haven, a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Port Wet Dock and enable the Environment Agency to execute ancillary works, including dredging of the river.
If given the go-ahead, the barrier would be up and running by 2019.
In a column for Lincolnshire Reporter, Boston and Skegness MP Matt Warman said: “For myself, I’m clear that there are three key aspects to this project: first, and most important, the barrier must protect people’s lives and property from the risk of flooding.
“That public safety aspect is the most important single gain, and it is right that it trumps all other interests.
“It would be wrong, however, to ignore the huge economic importance of the barrier. Done properly it will safeguard the fishing fleet and river users and it will protect businesses in the town as well.
“This means that it unlocks potential investment in Boston and it encourages more businesses to open or expand. It underlines that infrastructure investment has both a preventative and a positive power.”