Oxford

Didcot A Power Station's demolition: Residents call for delay

Didcot Power Station Image copyright PA
Image caption Three of the six towers at the south Oxfordshire site will be demolished before dawn on 27 July

Residents have appealed for the demolition of Didcot A Power Station to be changed from the early hours of the morning, so that they can watch it.

RWE NPower is due to blow up three of the southern cooling towers between 03:00 BST and 05:00 BST on 27 July.

A spokesman said people were welcome to watch, but were unlikely to get near.

Christine Reardon, who launched a petition, said: "Demolishing them whilst it is dark robs us of our chance to say a final goodbye."

RWE NPower closed the coal-fired facility in March 2013 after 43 years of service.

'Delay the explosion'

Ms Reardon wrote: "Despite huge public interest in watching this, the time window for demolition has been announced as... before dawn.

"Some of us have lived with the towers on our doorsteps for the last 40 years."

She called on the company to "delay the explosion until [06:00 BST] and work with Didcot residents to ensure a safe, organised and memorable experience for everyone".

A spokesman for the energy company described the demolition as an "engineering event, not a public event".

He said the timing was designed to minimise disruption, and that the "health and safety of those undertaking it, and members of the public [was] paramount".

'Vantage point'

He added that he understood the "strength of feeling" within the local community, and people were still welcome to watch.

"They will need to take into consideration road closures in the area," he said. "The higher the vantage point the better."

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have already called it disappointing that people would miss the "historic occasion".

The demolition of the cooling towers is expected to take less than a minute, with the rest of the site taking up to three years to clear.

The company said the date and time of the work had been "the subject of careful consultation" with police, the Health and Safety Executive and Network Rail.

RWE Npower sold part of the site of Didcot A Power Station to Clowes Developments in April for commercial and residential use.

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