Churchill Barriers under new ownership

The Churchill Barriers that link the southern islands of Orkney have been purchased by Orkney Islands Council.


Churchill Barriers looking towards the mainland

Built during World War two as a defence against submarine attack following the sinking of the Royal Oak in 1939, the barriers now form an important road, linking the southern islands with the mainland.

The council purchased the barriers from the MoD for a nominal fee in order to address an “anomaly” in the ownership of the road network but this sale has also given the local authority ownership of the seabed underneath the barriers.

The purchase from the MoD may lead to a marine energy project harnessing tidal flows beneath the installations.

David Hartley of Orkney Islands Council said:

“Orkney Islands Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee has discussed possible options for incorporating renewable energy generation within the Churchill Barriers”.

“Members agreed there should be more detailed discussions of the proposals at a future meeting of the Policy Resources Committee – and on potential options to tackle the problem of waves breaking over Barrier No. 2 during severe weather conditions”.