The Orfordness lighthouse has been a landmark on the Suffolk coast for over 210 years, but has now been recommended for closure following the latest five-year review by Trinity House, who manage all lighthouses around the coastlines of England, Wales and the Channel Islands.
It plans to discontinue all navigational aids at Orfordness, and instead proposes increasing the range of the Southwold lighthouse to compensate. Trinity House asserts that as navigational technology continues to advance the reliance on the traditional system of lighthouses around the coast has diminished.
Keith Seaman, the current Orfordness lighthouse keeper, said it would be a sad loss.
“Obviously there will be some objection from people used to looking at the Orford skyline and seeing what has become an iconic tower standing there. It would be a tremendous blow if it disappeared.
“For me it would be a sad loss having worked there since 1994. It has become a part of me and I have enjoyed showing visitors round. If the lighthouse goes then I will no longer be required.
“It’s inevitable that at some stage the tower will cease to exist because of severe erosion but that may now be hastened.”
The recommended closure of the lighthouse has been made somewhat inevitable by the local coastal erosion, and the lighthouse may be lost to the sea anyway within five years, unless it was moved inland or coastal defences in the immediate area were strengthened.
Objection to the proposed closure is already being sounded by members of the The Alde and Ore Association, and the Public consultation pediod will continue until January 29th 2010. Responses should be sent to Navigation Directorate, Trinity House, Tower Hill, London, EC3N 4DH (email firstname.lastname@example.org).