Page last updated at 08:05 GMT, Thursday, 13 May 2010 09:05 UK

Suffolk lighthouse beacon to be switched off

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The lighthouse at Orford Ness is one of six around the country to be switched off

A well-known Suffolk lighthouse is to be switched off, it has been announced.

Orford Ness near Woodbridge was established in 1637 at the end of a 13- mile (20km) spit which runs parallel to the coast.

Lighthouse authority Trinity House said it planned to turn off the beacon at Orford Ness, but not until local users had been consulted.

The National Trust said if offered, it would take ownership of the lighthouse and allow it to fall into the sea.

Martin Atkinson, National Trust property manager for the Suffolk Coast, said: "We are acutely aware of the sensitive environmental, historical and economic issues surrounding the future of Orford Ness lighthouse.

'Iconic building'

"If offered Orford Ness lighthouse by Trinity House, we would accept ownership of it...allowing it to fall into the sea, provided it has been fully decommissioned and any dangerous elements disposed of.

"Our approach to the built environment in our care on the Ness has been to let nature take its course and we feel this is the appropriate course of action with regard to the lighthouse.

"In addition...we would be keen to explore the possibility of saving certain architectural features of an iconic building, which has been a guardian to sailors for centuries and a welcome landmark."

Orford Ness will be one of six in the UK to be switched off although no date has been set.



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