Final preparations for demolition of Ferrybridge Power Station cooling towers

Final preparations are underway for the demolition of four cooling towers at Ferrybridge Power Station.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 1:48 pm
Andrew Kirk, top, safety manager for Keltbray, inside one of the cooling towers at Ferrybridge Power Station.

Thousands of people gathered to watch the demolition of tower six in July, and many more are expected to watch as a further four towers are reduced to rubble.

Towers four, five, seven and eight will be demolished next month, leaving just three of the 375ft concrete structures on site.

More than 140 people will be evacuated from their homes during the demolition, with those within the 328 yard (300 metre) exclusion zone asked to leave for their safety.

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Andrew Kirk, top, safety manager for Keltbray, inside one of the cooling towers at Ferrybridge Power Station.

The demolition will take place on Sunday, October 13, though an exact time has not been disclosed.

Rolling road blocks will be in place on the M62, A1 and A162 while the demolition is carried out, and even airline pilots flying into Leeds Bradford Airport will be warned.

Paul Hook, demolition project manager for SSE, said: “Imagine if you use this as a place marker and suddenly you see it collapsing in front of you.

Ferrybridge Power Station in its heyday

“The last time we saw a demolition of this scale was Ferrybridge B in the 1990s.”

Mr Hook, 45, who has worked at the site since leaving school, said the demolition would personally be a sad moment. The project manager's mother and great grandfather also worked at the site.

He said: “There’s multiple families that had fathers, sons, mothers and daughters here.

“It has been a key employer in this region. It’s a massive landmark and people associate themselves with the site even if they haven’t worked here.

“It’s a beacon of home when you are travelling home – as soon as you see the chimneys you know you are here.”

Historic site

At its peak, Ferrybridge Power Station employed more than 900 people,but now just 200 workers remain on site.

Located on a 389 acre site between Pontefract and Knottingley, it generated power for more than 50 years and is one of the area's most recognisable landmarks.

Ferrybridge C, as the site is officially known, first opened in 1966, and generated over 2,000 megawatts from four coal fired units.

The site officially closed in 2016, and demolition work began in December 2018.

The process will culminate in the controlled explosions of the 375ft towers later this year.

The huge coal yard, which once held 4m tonnes of coal, latterly from Indonesia, South Africa, Columbia and America, was once full of noise and bustle from trucks and trains, but now stands empty.

Half of the site is up for redevelopment, while SSE reviews its options for the remainder.

Mr Hook said: “We are potentially looking at a CCGT plant (combined cycle gas turbine) site at Ferrybridge, but there are multiple sites under consideration within SSE."