Lighthouses have stood along the British coastline for hundreds of years and still play a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the global shipping industry.
But in the face of increasingly stormy conditions, how resilient are these structures – particularly when you consider they are up to two centuries old.
That is the focus of the ongoing research project STORMLAMP, which is being led by the University of Plymouth in conjunction with the University of Exeter and UCL, and industrial partners HR Wallingford, AECOM, WS Atkins and the Environment Agency.
Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the investigators are using a combination of numerical modelling and field tests to demonstrate the effects of repeated impulsive wave loading.
The project builds on an initial pilot, which examined the impact of storm conditions on the Eddystone Lighthouse off the south coast of Cornwall, with ongoing support provided by the UK General Lighthouse Authorities.
STORMLAMP is building on that by additionally studying Bishop Rock, Wolf Rock and Longships, in Cornwall; Les Hanois, in the English Channel near Guernsey; Fastnet, to the south of Ireland; and Dubh Artach, off the west coast of Scotland.