The news is a major milestone in the construction of the barrier, part of a £100m scheme to give the town and surrounding area ‘one of the best flood defences outside London’.
The barrier is now fully ready and working, and will offer enhanced flood protection more than 13,000 homes and businesses.
It can be raised in just 20 minutes, the agency says, giving a rapid response to threats of North Sea tidal surges.
The EA says it has now completed two thirds of the £100m flood defence scheme for the town, which it says “will provide Boston with one of the best standards of flood defence outside of London”.
Once fully completed by 2022, flood risks to more than 14,000 homes and 800 businesses will be greatly reduced to allow for the effects of climate change for 100 years, says the agency.
Minister for Floods, Water and Emergencies Rebecca Pow said “Flooding has a devastating impact on lives and livelihoods, but for communities like Boston the barrier project brings a real sense of support for the years ahead, better protecting 13,000 properties.
“We are determined to support flood-hit communities as we build back greener and we are investing a further £5.2 billion over the next six years to reduce flood risk to hundreds of thousands more homes.”
Environment Agency Chief Executive, Sir James Bevan said: “Reaching this stage of the Boston Barrier project represents a huge development for the town and for the Environment Agency.
“During this most difficult of years, I want to thank all of the teams who have shown great dedication and determination to reach this important milestone in a COVID secure way.
“Now that the barrier gate is fully operational, Boston is better prepared for what winter may bring, this year and for many years to come.”
Environment Agency Boston Barrier Project Director, Adam Robinson said: “It gives me great pleasure to see the barrier gate fully operational following rigorous testing.
“This marks a huge leap forward for the scheme and there is now a significant reduction to the risk from tidal flooding in Boston. The majority of properties covered by the scheme will be better protected for a similar event to that of December 2013.
“Work on the scheme, which has been identified by government as critical infrastructure, continues in line with the government’s coronavirus advice with measures in place to ensure safe working procedures on site.
“Our team have worked incredibly hard throughout the pandemic to minimise disruption while maintaining the health and safety of staff, suppliers and members of the public. That effort has definitely paid off and means we now have a winter-ready operational tidal flood defence.”