Ferrybridge chimney stacks reduced to rubble

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Media caption,
Two 200m (656ft) chimney stacks and a boiler house were demolished in September 2021

Two 200m (656ft) chimney stacks along with a boiler house have been demolished at a disused power station.

The controlled explosion took place at the former coal-fired Ferrybridge C Power Station, alongside the A1(M) in Knottingley, West Yorkshire.

An exclusion zone was set up ahead of the demolition on Sunday, with some nearby houses evacuated.

Power firm SSE closed the site, which had been producing electricity for 50 years, in March 2016.

Image caption,
At its peak, Ferrybridge C power station generated enough electricity to power two million homes

Demolition work began in 2019 as part of the company's plans to transition to low-carbon energy.

Situated on the River Aire, it was the third coal-fired power station to be built on the site since 1924.

At peak capacity it generated enough electricity to power two million homes and employed 900 workers.

Paul Hook, project manager for SSE, who started as an apprentice at the site in 1991, described the blowdown as "a significant moment", but said he had mixed feelings about seeing the chimneys fall.

He said the power plant had played a hugely significant part in people's lives, being at the heart of the community, and providing employment for generations of local families.

"I know there are generations of people who have worked here, families like my own who have only ever seen these structures on the horizon," he said.

The blast - which lasted a matter of seconds - had taken months to prepare for, he added.

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Former business secretary Alok Sharma, who is in charge of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November, was tasked with setting off the controlled explosion.

"Pressing the button on this demolition is a symbolic moment for me and demonstrates that change is possible," he said.

"It is time for countries to set out clear plans to consign coal power to the history books and safeguard our planet for future generations," he added.

Earlier this year, SSE announced plans to build two "low carbon" power stations in North Lincolnshire.

"It's crucial we're investing in low-carbon alternatives to provide the flexible power generation needed to continue to enable a renewables-led energy system," the firm's energy and commercial director, Martin Pibworth, said.

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