but Orfordness and Blacknore lighthouses to close by 2015, report confirms

The three General Lighthouse Authorities (GLAs) of the UK and Ireland, whose recent announcement that they planned to close a number of lighthouses around the coast provoked a storm of protest among leisure sailors,  have announced the result of their latest 5 year Aids to Navigation (AtoN) review.


In an email sent to all respondents to a draft proposal, Nick Dodson, Navigation (Examiner) Manager for Trinity House, said: ‘We have now considered all the responses that were received and, where appropriate, the original proposals have been amended after careful assessment of the navigational requirements.’


The results of the review are wide-ranging. A statement from Trinity House, reporting the findings, concluded: ‘Generally…lights can be considered a complementary but secondary
system to Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS.’


The review also concluded that a maximum range of 18 miles is considered sufficient for most
lights; Rotating optics are no longer a requirement; If practical, there can be a reduction in amount and diversity of
flash characters on lighthouse lights. Two findings of importance to yachtsmen are that the review concluded that Leading and Sectored lights remain important; but a major change is that fog signals are no longer considered to be Aids to Navigation – and will only be
used as hazard warning signals.


The review can be downloaded in full from the Trinity House website – but read on for a summary of its findings.


Paul Howe from Trinity House told PBO that some major changes have been made since the response to the draft proposal. ‘Only 2 lighthouses, out of the original six earmarked for closure, will now be discontinued’ he said. These are Orfordness and Blacknore lighthouses. Three others previously under threat, at Beachy Head, Hartland Point and Skokholm, will have their range reduced to 8nm, while the GLA is negotiating with the local authority to hand over the operation of Maryport lighthouse in Cumbria.


Other features of the report include plans to:

  • Discontinue 18 buoys, 5 fog signals, 3 beacons and 1
    radar beacon;
  • Decrease the range of light at 44 lighthouses;
  • Increase the range of light at 2 Lighthouses;
  • Light 10 existing unlit minor Aids to Navigation;
  • Establish 4 minor AtoN and1 radar beacon;
  • Negotiate with representative local lighthouse and port authorities
    for the transfer from the GLAs to them of 53 AtoN that are considered to
    be primarily for the benefit of local navigation.

These changes have been approved, and according to Trinity House, will be implemented by the GLAs by 2015.


 You can download the full document from Trinity House. Please feel free to comment on the proposals using the comment form below.