The Royal Sovereign Lighthouse is to be decommissioned and removed from the seabed, it has been revealed.
Owners of the lighthouse, which has stood out as a prominent landmark 11km out (6.8 miles) at sea since 1971, have taken the decision due to the structure’s deterioration.
Work will begin to take the lighthouse apart in 2020.
Trinity House, which built The Royal Sovereign Lighthouse, said the navigational aid had an expected design life of 50 years. Beachy Head Lighthouse will be upgraded to ensure the safety of mariners in its place.
Deputy Master Captain Ian McNaught said, “It is never an easy decision to discontinue and even remove such a prominent aid to navigation, but our first priority will always be the safety of the mariner.
“Now that Royal Sovereign Lighthouse has reached the end of its serviceable life, it is time for us to take steps to ensure that the lighthouse itself does not become a hazard.
“There will be a lot of work involved for our engineers and our various other teams and we will be working extensively in collaboration with a number of organisations to ensure the success of this project.”
Alongside upgrading Beachy Head Lighthouse, Trinity House will also increase the capability of the offshore CS2 buoy and will retain the nearby Royal Sovereign buoy.
Once the charity decommissions Royal Sovereign Lighthouse as proposed, Beachy Head Lighthouse’s future is secured as the principal aid to navigation in the area.
Royal Sovereign Lighthouse was brought into operation at noon on September 6, 1971. Its duty was to mark the Royal Sovereign shoal to vessels.
With a farewell blast from the lighthouse’s fog signal, THV Winston Churchill towed away the last of the series of lightvessels which had marked the Royal Sovereign station since 1875.