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Work starts to demolish E.ON's Grain Power Station and Kingsnorth Power Station in Hoo

By Jenni Horn

Medway's skyline is changing forever as the demolition of two iconic power stations begins.

Energy firm E.ON announced this week that work has started to knock down the oil-fired Grain Power Station and Hoo's coal-fired Kingsnorth Power Station.

Both were decommissioned after they were declared too polluting under EU law. The legislation required the plants to close after generating for 20,000 hours of power from January 1, 2008 or before the end of 2015, whichever came first.

Grain Power Station by Vikki Websdale

Grain was closed in 2012 due to not being "economically viable" and Kingsnorth shut in March 2013 after completing its 20,000 hours' generation.

E.ON was unable to confirm a timescale for the demolition so it is not known when the chimney at Kingsnorth - scaled by Greenpeace protesters in 2007 - and the smoke stack at Grain, the nation's fourth-tallest building, will disappear.

A spokesman for the firm said the demolition would take "some months".

She added: "Further updates regarding demolition will be provided as appropriate as work advances."

Neil Wright, civil team leader at E.ON, said: "We have been working with our contractors to ensure that the initial demolition process is conducted safely, efficiently and with minimum disruption to the local community and wildlife in the surrounding areas."

Photographer David Neale took this picture of Kingsnorth Power Station

The news that work has begun is a blow for amateur photographer David Neale, who launched a campaign to save the Kingsnorth chimney from the bulldozer.

Mr Neale, 38, from Rainham, who has a passion for tall structures, said: "I will be very sad to see both the chimneys go. Grain is Kent's tallest structure and Kingsnorth is Kent's third tallest so to lose them both in one fell swoop is very sad.

"Once things like this are gone, they are gone and can never be replaced.

He added: "I have got photographs of both iconic towers in all weather conditions so I will definitely be trying to get a few more photos before they come down."

The principle contractor on the project is Dartford-based demolition experts Brown and Mason who will be carrying out the work at both sites.

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