Kingsnorth Power Station chimney

Climate activists cheer as decommissioned power station’s chimney is blown up

Image credit: PA

Kingsnorth Power Station in Kent was capable of producing 2,000MW of electricity and had been a focal point for campaigners furious at reliance on the most polluting fossil fuels.

The chimney of a decommissioned coal-fired power station was today blown up in a controlled explosion that was welcomed by climate campaigners as symbolic of a growing rejection of the most polluting sources of power.

The 656ft chimney at the Kingsnorth Power Station in Hoo, Kent, stood at more than twice the height of Big Ben and had been a focal point for protests.

Construction of the oil-fired power station begin in 1963, and the site was the only dual-fired power station in the country able to burn oil and coal.

It was capable of producing 2,000MW of electricity – enough to power more than 1.5 million homes. The chimney removed steam and other gases from the plant’s boilers and became a familiar landmark on the Kent landscape. When the site closed in December 2012, it had operated for 42 years and generated 310TWh of power. A comprehensive demolition programme began in 2014 and is due to be completed by the end of 2018.

In 2008, climate activists scaled the chimney stack and daubed on it the name of then Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

They had been planning to write “Gordon Bin It”, in reference to their demand for an end to new coal-fired power stations in the UK, but they only got as far as finishing the word “Gordon” before being apprehended and brought down from the structure.

Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas today tweeted: “10 years ago Climate Camp protested at Kingsnorth Power Station, saying ‘NO NEW COAL. 1,500 police officers tried to stop us. Its demolition shows strength of the climate movement. They told us our demands were impossible. They were wrong.”

Neil Riley, head of development and demolition for Uniper, said: “This is a milestone for the demolition project, it is our last big explosive demolition. Its been part of the community and serving the national interest for 42 years. Personally I will be sad to see it go as well. But structures of this nature are built with a purpose and that purpose is no longer. Its not cost effective to keep it standing.”

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