The Falkirk Wheel chosen as one of the top 20 influential projects that shaped the world

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has announced that the Forth Bridge, Hydroelectric power in Scotland, and The Falkirk Wheel amongst the top 200 influential people and projects, past and present, which illustrate how civil engineering has shaped the world and transformed people’s lives for the better.

To mark the ICE’s 200th anniversary, and to support the UK Government’s Year of Engineering and the Scottish Government’s Year of Young People, the Institution is highlighting 200 inspirational and world-changing projects from around the world throughout 2018. Nominated by the ICE’s members and selected by an expert panel, the chosen projects illustrate the breadth and depth of civil engineering’s impact.  

The 2,467m long Forth Bridge was completed in 1890. The iconic railway crossing is used by 200 trains a day and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The bridge replaced ferry services across the river and made moving people and goods around easier, boosting the Scottish economy.

Hydroelectric generation in Scotland started early in the 20th century – kick-started by the need for power to drive aluminium smelting plants at Kinlochleven and Lochaber in the Highlands. Scotland now has 85% of the UK’s hydroelectric energy resource, much of it developed in the 1950s. It brought ‘power from the glens’ into Scottish homes. By 1965, 54 main power stations and 78 dams had been built, providing a total generating capacity of over 1,000MW.

The Falkirk Wheel is the only fully rotating boat lift in the world. It was built as part of the £85.4m Millennium link project to reunite the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals in Scotland. The canals had previously been linked by a staircase of 11 locks, taking nearly a day to pass through. It now takes about 10 minutes for a boat to be lifted from the Forth and Clyde Canal to the aqueduct 24m above that leads to the Union Canal. Since its opening in 2002 more than 5.5 million people have visited it – benefiting tourism and the local community.


“Civil Engineers deliver a wonderfully diverse range of work from the cutting of technology to the everyday infrastructure around us such as buildings, water, energy and roads. While many benefit from what civil engineers do, many don’t understand what they do.

“With 200 People and Projects we hope, as part of our ICE 200 bicentennial celebrations, to be able to shine a light on how civil engineers transform people’s lives in our communities.

"These three projects showcase how civil engineering paves the way to modern life and how it continues to tackle the problems of today, safeguarding the future for generations to come.”

Sara Thiam, Director ICE Scotland

The Forth Bridge, Hydropower in Scotland, and the Falkirk Wheel join the 200 projects which will be published throughout the year on the What Is Civil Engineering? pages of the ICE website. What is Civil Engineering? will not only host these projects but can also be used as a career guidance tool for those hoping to pursue a career in civil engineering. Once inspired by the projects being produced each month, there is comprehensive advice and guidance on how to become a civil engineer no matter what level of education someone has, or what stage in their career they have reached.

This platform has been designed to help promote the career of civil engineering after it was revealed that only 45% of adults know what the career entails and only 35% of young people could tell you what a civil engineer does.

Notes to Editors

  • The Institution of Civil Engineers is reaching a rare milestone in 2018 – a bicentenary.

ICE 200 is a perfect chance to celebrate the institution’s longevity, recognise the profession of civil engineering and most importantly the thousands of members who make the institution what it is.  ICE will use the bicentenary as opportunity to remind the general public that civil engineers transform their lives for the better and safeguard the future for their families. In doing so, the institution also hopes to encourage young people to see civil engineering as a creative, rewarding and highly enjoyable career.

Events are planned for throughout 2018 and information will be made available on the ICE website.

  •   What is Civil Engineering? can be found at
  •   The perception survey conducted by ICE, in conjunction with TLF, had a sample size of 1,000 adults and a second group of 1,000 young people. The research found that:
    • 55.1% of adults stated that they didn’t know what a civil engineer does
    • 65% of young people stated they didn’t know what a civil engineer does
    • Only 36.5% of those surveyed could identify a civil engineering project in the UK

For more information, contact:

Rory MacLeod, Communications & Marketing, ICE Scotland

Tel: 0141 225 8194            m: 07773 386109               e:

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