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Lighthouse turbine shelved

On Saturday, September 7, 2013, the RNLI held a celebration at Seahouses lifeboat station of the 175th anniversary of the famous rescue carried out by Grace Darling on September 7, 1838. Pictured is a modern-day Grace Darling, Seahouses volunteer RNLI crew member Kerensa Airey leaving flowers at the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands in memory of Grace Darling and those lost on the SS Forfarshire. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI

On Saturday, September 7, 2013, the RNLI held a celebration at Seahouses lifeboat station of the 175th anniversary of the famous rescue carried out by Grace Darling on September 7, 1838. Pictured is a modern-day Grace Darling, Seahouses volunteer RNLI crew member Kerensa Airey leaving flowers at the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands in memory of Grace Darling and those lost on the SS Forfarshire. Picture by Adrian Don/RNLI

Plans to build a wind turbine on the iconic Farne Islands lighthouse that was once the home of Grace Darling have been abandoned.

The custodians of Longstone Lighthouse have backtracked on their turbine plan after being advised by planning officers that it would likely be rejected.

Instead, Trinity House now intends to place 27 solar panels on the accommodation-block roof to power the grade II-listed lighthouse.

A planning application for listed building consent has been submitted to Northumberland County Council.

Thomas Arculus, estates and property manager, said: “The lighthouse is currently powered by diesel alternators running full-time.

“In future, these will only be used to supplement the site-generated solar power.

“We investigated installing a wind turbine, which would have provided enough power for building conditioning and allowed us to move the alternators completely, but the pre-application advice which we received indicated strongly that the impact of the wind generator may be sufficient to make it unsupportable by the local planning authority.”

The original plan was to have a vertical-axis wind turbine and solar panels mounted on the walls of the lighthouse.

The new plan would see the solar panels installed at 10 degrees to the horizontal so that they do not protrude above the parapet wall.

“It is our opinion that from a distance from sea level, the solar arrays will not be noticeable,” said Mr Arculus.

The use of solar panels would reduce the lighthouse’s carbon footprint from current annual emissions of 14.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide to 0.69 tonnes per year.

The works would be timed to avoid the seabird breeding season. If permission is secured, it is planned to carry out the project in early May 2015.

The light was originally fitted with 12 burners, parabolic reflectors and a catadioptric optical apparatus. Major alterations were made in 1952 with the light converted to electricity before becoming automatically operated in September 1990.

 

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