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Boston Barrier project wins first-ever Sustainability Award at the EMMAs

11 June 2021

Individual and project-related civil engineering achievements were celebrated at this year’s East Midlands Merit Awards.

Boston Barrier project wins first-ever Sustainability Award at the EMMAs

The Boston Barrier, a tidal flood defence scheme in Boston, Lincolnshire, is the winner of the Sustainability Award, presented at the East Midlands Merit Awards (EMMAs) for the first time this year.

In making the award, the judges applauded the project team's outstanding application of all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs).

The team, a partnership between the Environment Agency, Lincolnshire County Council, Boston Borough Council and Black Sluice Internal Drainage Board, used each goal to define and improve their project, impressing the judges with their high level of compliance to the targets related to each of the goals.

The project includes a 25-metre wide rising gate across the section of the River Witham, to the south of central Boston between Black Sluice and the Grade II listed Maud Foster Sluice.

The Boston Barrier is part of the government’s long term investment in flood and coastal defences. The project, also winner of the EMMAs' Large Project Award, aims to reduce the risk of tidal flooding to over 17,000 properties in Boston.

Each year, the East Midlands Merit Awards (EMMAs) celebrate the achievements of civil engineers across the region, whether for a specific project or in recognition of the achievements of individuals.

Commenting on this year’s awards, ICE East and West Midlands regional director, Jo Barnett, said:

"Our annual awards play an important role in not only demonstrating the importance of our civil engineers, but also in celebrating the positive impact that civil engineering has on our everyday lives. I am delighted that despite a difficult year for everyone, our civil engineers continued to safely deliver inspiring projects in often challenging circumstances."

This year’s awards recognised five main project award categories and three people awards.

Project awards

  • Design, Studies or Research.
  • Team Achievement.
  • Small Project (<£2m).
  • Medium Project (£2-10m).
  • Large Project (>£10m).

Design, Studies or Research Award

The Oxton Trunk Main Recommissioning project, submitted by Severn Trent, nmcn and Advanced Pipeline Inspection, was commended for securing a resilient water supply to over 50,000 homes in Newark and the surrounding area by recommissioning a trunk main that had lain abandoned for decades. This sustainable approach resulted in minimal disruption to the public, commuters and residents and provided significant environmental benefits.

Small Project Award

A153 Rugby Club Junction, Sleaford
A153 Rugby Club Junction, Sleaford

The balance between reducing the high accident rate and congestion on a busy junction, while at the same time providing a safer pedestrian crossing was recognised by the judges, who awarded the Small Project Award to the A17/ A153 Rugby Club Junction scheme in Sleaford.

The junction redesign, which is on a main arterial route linking Lincolnshire with Norfolk, is a partnership between Eurovia UK, Lincolnshire County Council, North Kesteven District Council and Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

The judges applauded the project team’s use of digital technologies, including a digital twin. The traffic management phasing plan allowed safe working areas to be established with segregation between live traffic and construction workers.

The site was also recognised as a Considerate Constructor site, achieving a certificate of excellence.


Lowdham Flood Alleviation scheme, submitted by nmcn and Severn Trent, was commended in this category. The judges were impressed by the holistic solution to flooding, which was implemented by providing a new offline storage tank, combined with catchment resilience work to resolve surface water flooding.

The impact on the community during the works was kept to a minimum. The benefit to the community will be felt for many years to come.

Medium Project Award

This award was presented to the A46 Anstey Lane scheme, in Leicestershire, a project by Leicestershire County Council, Leicester City Council, Highways England, Galliford Try, Waterman Aspen and Midlands Highway Alliance.

The project used local suppliers within a 20-mile radius, which helped drive local skills employment. The works were delivered with an exemplar safety record, on time in spite of Covid-19 restrictions, and under budget.

By using a hybrid power system in their project offices, the project reduced CO2 by 220 tonnes, added £2.2 million in social value terms, and engaged with 180 local students at STEM events.

This project was also commended in the Team Achievement category.

Large Project Award

The Boston Barrier

The Boston Barrier, also winner of the Sustainability Award, provides one of the best standards of tidal flood defence outside of London.

The project is predicted to deliver economic benefits of over £1.1 billion, providing significant protection to local infrastructure assets, including the A16 trunk road and the Boston to Skegness railway.

The project is a partnership between the Environment Agency and the BAM Nuttall & Mott MacDonald Joint Venture.

The Large Project Award was sponsored by WM Plant Hire.

Highly commended

Ashbourne Sewage Treatment Works was recognised for the focus on innovation and collaboration in the project design and construction.

Digital collaboration across client, contractor and the supply chain enabled the team to develop 3D models early in the programme, enabling visualisation and optimisation of 4D planning of the construction programme.

People awards

This year, individual civil engineers were recognised in three award categories.

Civil Engineering Achiever of the Year

While working for Via East Midlands as a coordination officer, Danielle Deakin decided to change career direction. She applied for the role of trainee project engineer, enrolling onto a degree apprenticeship, studying civil engineering at the University of Derby.

Deakin has also been actively involved in promoting apprenticeships during career fairs.


The runner-up in this category was Priyesh Mistry, also from Via East Midlands. After working at Via East Midlands during his gap year, Mistry joined the company as an assistant project engineer during the Covid-19 lockdown. He successfully picked up technical skills ahead of the curve and has been working on a variety of challenging projects.

STEM Ambassador of the Year

Peter Joyce is a long-standing STEM and ICE ambassador. Joyce provides a wealth of experience to promote civil engineering to the next generations. Over the last 9 years, he has engaged with many young learners and built links between businesses.

Each year, he volunteers a significant amount of his time, energy and ideas, to organise and deliver ICE’s presence at the regional Big Bang Fair.

William Kemp Award

Peter Barclay
Peter Barclay

This award was presented to Peter Barclay from the Midlands Highway Alliance (MHA). Over the course of his career, Barclay has made a sustained and exceptional contribution to civil engineering in the East Midlands.

Barclay joined the MHA as the Alliance manger in 2009 since when membership steadily increased from its original 10 members to 28.

Barclay has also chaired the MHA's professional services work stream, offering members easy access to consultancy services, providing significant savings to its members.

Barclay has used his position within the MHA to highlight the value of professional qualifications. He has supported initiatives, promoting the ICE EngTech qualification. Thanks to these initiatives, the number of technician members in the region increased by about 10% and it is still growing.

This year's event was hosted by Edward Bingham, ICE East Midlands Council member and technical director – digital sector lead at AECOM, and Ben McGrath, ICE East Midlands chair and associate director, Waterman Aspen.

The awards are sponsored by Waterman Aspen.

  • Magdalena Baldwin, Marketing Communications Executive