Kent

Explosions demolish Richborough cooling towers

Thousands of people watched as three cooling towers and a giant chimney which dominated the east Kent skyline for 50 years were blown up.

Sunday's demolition at Richborough Power Station, near Sandwich, was carried out by explosives experts and took less than one minute.

The 300ft (100m) towers were part of a complex which opened in 1962 to burn fuel from the Kent coalfields.

The owners of the plant want to build a green energy park on the site.

Almost every accessible vantage point on roads in the surrounding area was taken as people parked where they could to watch the demolition.

Some set up tripods on car roofs and others perched on top of step ladders to get a good view.

'Very smooth'

A warning siren sounded and rockets were fired into the sky before the towers went down one by one within three seconds of each other, followed by the chimney.

The demolition took 18 months to plan, with explosives placed round the bases of the towers detonated in sequence.

Most other buildings on the power station site, which closed in 1996, have already been demolished.

Part of the cleared site will house an electricity inter-connector which will allow power to flow in both directions between Kent and Europe.

An under sea cable which will run for 80 miles (130 km) between the two coastlines is planned to be in operation by 2018.

Business development manager for the National Grid, Kevin Lee, said: "I think it was quite a surprise when it finally went.

"It all seemed to go very smoothly and very professionally. I was impressed by the degree of control over the demolition."

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