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Tilbury Power Station chimneys to be demolished in controlled explosion

The view from Gravesend across the River Thames will change forever next week when the two tall chimneys at Tilbury Power Station are demolished.

The 170m tall chimneys will be brought down simultaneously by controlled explosions next Thursday.

But anyone wishing to watch will need to be up early as the demolition is scheduled for 8am.

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The most dramatic blast to date took place in September. Picture: Jason Arthur
The most dramatic blast to date took place in September. Picture: Jason Arthur

The chimneys have been part of the site since the station was built in 1969 and this will mark the site’s seventh controlled explosive demolition.

They are the tallest standing structures in Kent's neighbour Essex but it will take less than 10 seconds for the concrete chimneys to crumble to the ground.

The exclusion zone around the site will be bigger than for recent smaller explosions, extending up to the Essex shoreline.

VIDEO: The biggest controlled explosion so far took place a year ago

RWE Generation, which manages the site, warned: "There are no safe and accessible areas around the perimeter of the station which would provide views of the chimneys coming down and no public car parking available in the area."

But people should be able to view the chimneys' demise from the Kent side of the river.

The sixth explosive demolition simultaneously brought down a section of high level ducting and central conveyor last week.

The skyline will change forever when the two chimneys come down. Picture: Gary Browne
The skyline will change forever when the two chimneys come down. Picture: Gary Browne

The last explosion took place last month when the northern end of the de-aeration bay and the conditioning and storage bunker were destroyed and in July the southern end of the remaining turbine hall came down.

Three of four steel structures known as precipitators were destroyed in a small explosion in June, half the turbine hall was demolished in April and a large explosion in September brought down one of the 28m-high coal junction towers.

The other main structures such as the coal bunker houses are scheduled for explosive demolition later this year.

The complete demolition of the site is expected towards the end of 2018.

In July, RWE announced plans for Tilbury Energy Centre, which will feature various types of gas turbines and an energy storage facility.

Public consultation will begin early next year on the development.

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