The Churchill Barriers, built more than 75 years ago from hundreds of thousands of concrete and rubble, are now in danger due to the impacts of climate change.  

The barriers are currently under attack from the mighty North Sea’s tidal forces. The issues of flooding and high winds have disrupted those living in both Burray and South Ronaldsay.

The officials in Orkney have had no other choice but to urge the Scottish Government for tens of millions of pounds to fund a lasting solution.

The world-famous Churchill Barriers once protected British fleet from the Kriegsmarine.

The vast causeways were built by Italian prisoners of war, under the orders of Sir Winston Churchill.

In recent times, the barriers were levelled letting roads form across the channels, which created a transport link for island communities.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) draft flood risk management strategy for Orkney told The Scotsman: “coastal flooding is likely to increase due to sea level rise caused by climate change,” they have identified the area around the second barrier as especially vulnerable.

The councillors in Orkney on the development and infrustrature committee have voted to see what support can be offered from Edinburgh.

Steve Sankey, a councillor who moved from Edinburgh to South Ronaldsay with his family, warned that doing “nothing” about the situation is “politically and practically” out of the question.

James Stockan, the leader of Orkney Island Council, said: “We need to make sure the Scottish Government supports us with substantial finances to maintain these barriers or find alternatives.

“It’s just the second barrier, which is exposed. We have slightly more concern about the integrity of the first barrier, so putting up a bridge on one of them is only part of the answer.

“We had Boris Johnson here in the summer, and I told him I expected him to live up to the reputation of Churchill. I was hoping for an immediate response or policy decision, but I didn’t get it.”

SEPA’s flood risk strategy predicts that as many as 2,200 homes in Orkney will be at risk of flooding by the 2080s due to the impacts of climate change.