Tyne & Wear

Dismantling of Gateshead gas holders to begin

Redheugh gas holder Image copyright James Drury
Image caption The gas holders are a well-known local landmark

Gas holders targeted in an IRA bomb attack are to be dismantled.

Work to take down the three structures, at Dunston in Gateshead, is due to begin on Monday.

Northern Gas Networks said the holders were being removed as they are "no longer in use and costly to maintain".

Flames erupted from one of the holders in June 1993 when Sean McNulty attempted to blow it up using Semtex plastic explosive.

One device blew a hole in the tank, which contained methane gas, setting it on fire.

Staff and firefighters prevented an explosion and the blaze burnt itself out.

About 400 people were evacuated from houses in the nearby area.

McNulty also targeted an Esso fuel terminal in North Shields and was jailed the following year after being found guilty of conspiring to cause explosions with intent to endanger life.

Image caption Firefighters tackled the blaze caused by an explosive device

Following the dismantling of the gas holders further work will be carried out on-site with completion scheduled for August or September 2018.

Northern Gas Networks said it would retain the site as it would continue to be used to provide gas to homes and businesses in the area.

Holders were built to store gas made from coal at local gasworks.

However, they were phased out nationally following the discovery of North Sea gas as new pipelines were laid to supply properties.

More recently they have been used to bolster supplies during colder weather and at peak times.

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