Didcot power station towers demolished

Kate Hartwright from Didcot said it looked like the towers "were never there"

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Three enormous cooling towers at the disused Didcot A Power Station in Oxfordshire have been demolished.

The blast, conducted with more than 180kg of explosives, flattened 36,000 tonnes of material in seconds and was streamed live online.

Hundreds of people gathered to watch the towers come down at 05:01 BST, despite warnings of a huge dust cloud.

The decision to carry out the demolition before sunrise was criticised by some residents.

The coal-fired power station ceased generating in March last year after dominating the skyline around the town since 1970.

Didcot Power Station Hundreds of people stayed up overnight to view the demolition from afar
After Didcot power station demolition The demolition team said they were pleased with the operation
Didcot power station before and after explosion Hundreds of people camped out overnight to see the towers disappear from the landscape

Mark Coleman, managing director of demolition firm Coleman and Company, tweeted: #DidcotDemolition well done to all involved. A professional textbook job. Thank you to all the locals. I hope you enjoyed it #teamwork

Many people camped out all night or got up early to watch the towers come down online, while #DidcotDemolition quickly became a trending topic on Twitter.

Gilliam Miles said: "Up at 2am and watched it from Ladygrove with hundreds of others - emotional moment. Will miss them."

Tina Banham said: "They went down so quickly - we were watching a water vole whilst waiting in Appleford, heard the explosion and they seemed to be down in seconds. Could have missed it had explosion not been so loud."

Stuart Kerry added: "I saw them being built when I was young and now have seen them come down via the internet live here in the USA."

Christine Wallace Great British Bake Off contestant Christine Wallace made an edible tribute to the towers

Last year's Great British Bake Off quarter-finalist, and Didcot resident, Christine Wallace had made her own edible tribute to the towers before she watched them crumble.

She told BBC Radio Oxford: "My heart was thumping, all our hearts were thumping, just waiting to see what was going to happen.

"But then, in a second, what was there in front of us was no more. It was very moving actually."

Spectators had been advised to stay away from the "difficult to access" site and watch the event online instead.

At the scene: Katharine Da Costa - BBC Oxford

Spectators had started arriving at 22:00 on Saturday and many had been up all night by the time the towers came down.

Renditions of The Final Countdown rang out from the crowd as the anticipation grew.

After dominating the skyline for more than 40 years - the towers were reduced to rubble in under 10 seconds.

There were cheers and applause as many captured the historic moment on mobile phones and cameras.

Some witnesses said it was worth the wait and they were sad to see them go - others however felt the whole thing was a bit of an anti-climax.


For those determined to witness the event, Earth Trust opened its car park at Wittenham Clumps, while First Great Western also offered free parking at its Foxhall Road car park.

Residents wanting the explosion to take place in the daylight "for everyone to see" had set up a Facebook page and petition, which received more than 3,000 signatures.

But Guy Esnouf, NPower's director of communications, said experts including the Health and Safety Executive, Thames Valley Police and Network Rail had advised an early time.

He said: "We had 180kg of high explosives. That is an awful lot and you clearly don't want people and explosives near together. Safety has to come first."

Following the explosion, a clean up operation has started to clear the area of dust, including the nearby railway line.

The demolition firm said roads and the railway were clear by 07:00.

Homes and gardens being covered in dust had caused concern among some local residents living in nearby Foxhall Manor Park.

But Kieran Conarty from Coleman and Company said there would be "a series of jet washes to clean footpaths, buildings, roofs".

"Behind that there will be a series of road sweepers and behind that will be a series of operatives literally picking up the pieces."

Didcot A : Form and aesthetics

• The 2000 MW coal-fired power station (now also gas-fired and biomass fuelled) was constructed between 1965 and 1974

• The towers stood at 375 ft (114m)

• Each tower was designed to cool 9 million gallons of water per hour

• The consultant architect was Frederick Gibberd, who also designed Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral

• Gibberd designed a scheme that would maintain the wide views across the Vale of the White Horse

• As the site was in a flat valley, Gibberd devised "earth hedges" to screen the coal yard from the main railway and security fence

Source: English Heritage

Clean up after Didcot demolition Cleaners were sent out to clear dust from the surrounding areas

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BBC Local Live

    Good evening 18:00:

    That's all for today, thanks for joining in. BBC Local Live will be back from 08:00 on Tuesday with the latest news, sport, travel and weather updates for Oxfordshire.

    Showers dying out 17:56: BBC Radio Oxford

    Isolated showers should largely die out through the evening, with the risk perhaps persisting in the far south.

    Weather chart

    Otherwise becoming dry, but with large areas of mist and fog developing in the light winds towards dawn. Lows of 12C (54F).

    Tonight's TV 17:46: Jerome Sale BBC South Today

    Coming up on South Today this evening: It's thought to be the oldest of its kind - now Helen House, the hospice for children with life limiting conditions, has been given a major makeover.

    And, rail misery - thousands of passengers face a day of disruption after an incident at Banbury station.

    Whittington wins 17:37: Mark Mitchener BBC Sport

    Francis Whittington edged out world number one William Fox-Pitt to win the Blenheim Horse Trials yesterday.

    Francis Whittington

    Whittington put the pressure on Fox-Pitt with a superb clear round aboard Easy Target in Sunday's showjumping.

    Leave those kids alone? 17:29: David Prever Drivetime presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On BBC Radio Oxford, we're talking about plans to only award 3% of GCSE pupils the top grade.

    We asked, is it time to stop messing around with our children's education?

    Helen King, Sandra Richards and Yvette Noble all replied on our Facebook page with a resounding "Yes".

    But Resolved Hypnotherapy disagreed. She said: "They've been messing around with it forever. These moves are an attempt to render the excellent grade excellent again. As a teacher I saw exams becoming easier and the number of students with A* grades rise, year on year. They're just resetting the clock."

    Sir Roger Moore 17:20:

    New Theatre Oxford ‏tweets: Sir Roger Moore was on @BBCOxford on Saturday - listenfrom 1hr and 14mins. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p025v42q

    Fatal crash 17:13:

    Thames Valley Police is appealing for information following a fatal collision in Henley-on-Thames yesterday.

    At around 21:30 on Wargrave Road, a grey Honda CRV hit a 77-year-old man. He died at the scene. His next of kin has been informed.

    Top universities 17:06: Judith Burns Education reporter, BBC News

    Money is key to being a top university, suggests analysis by Times Higher Education magazine, ahead of its 2014 world university rankings.


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    In the news 16:59: Phil Mercer Reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

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    The 21 month old - known as Child H - needed resuscitating after taking the prescribed drug found in its mother's bag in September last year.

    Oxfordshire heritage 16:53:

    BBC's Phil Mercer tweeted this photo of the former home of infamous 12th century criminal Josce Bundy on the corner of St Michael's Street and Cornmarket Street.

    St Michael's Street and Cornmarket Street in Oxford

    ‏He said: "Old home of dodgy Mr Bundy in 12th century. Learnt about him thx to @OxPresTrust /Pam Matix."

    M40 busy 16:39: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    It's very busy on the M40 northbound from junction 4 High Wycombe to 5 at Stokenchurch, approaching the roadworks area.

    Works have got underway today to repair the flood damaged B478 at Playhatch between the A4155 and Sonning Eye roundabout - a lane will remain closed with temporary lights and some overnight closures where needed.

    And the A420 London Road is very heavy out of Oxford to Headley Way Junction - from there, traffic along Headley Way towards Marston Ferry Road is very slow.

    For the latest updates, tune in to BBC Radio Oxford or visit the BBC travel pages.

    Top of the class 16:31: David Prever Drivetime presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On BBC Radio Oxford Drivetime: It's been revealed that just 3% of papers will be awarded the top grade when new-style GCSE exams for English and Maths are first taken in 2017.

    We're asking, is it time to stop messing around with our children's education?

    Get in touch by email, Twitter or Facebook.

    U's sign Howard 16:21: Nabil Hassan BBC Sport

    Oxford United have signed midfielder Brian Howard until January, with an option to extend that deal until May.

    Brian Howard

    Howard, 31, had been without a club since leaving Birmingham in the summer.

    The U's face Accrington Stanley at the Kassam Stadium tomorrow. You can hear commentary from 19:00 on BBC Radio Oxford.

    Playhatch Road repairs begin 16:09:

    Work to repair a road regularly hit by flooding has begun.

    Playhatch Road

    Sonning's B478 Playhatch Road, a main commuter route between Oxfordshire and Berkshire, was damaged when river levels rose earlier this year. It was closed and then reopened with one lane.

    One lane will remain open throughout the repairs, due for completion in November.

    In the news 15:58: Phil Mercer Reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

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    Abingdon dancers 15:48:

    Paul Finch from Abingdon sent us this photo of Morris dancers in the town at the weekend.

    Morris Dancers in Abingdon

    Were you out and about at the weekend? Send us your photos.

    Not going out? 15:38: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On BBC Radio Oxford this morning, we discussed research that claims we're going out less than we used to. We asked you why and here are some of your replies from our Facebook page.

    Bernard Wakefield-Heath said: "The reason, certainly in my case and that of just about everyone I know, and that's a lot of people individually and in families, is that, a) most people are still no better off (despite what Government rhetoric suggests), and so have a limited budget, and b) everything is so much more expensive now with prices having kept up in the last few years. People's income hasn't kept pace with costs, and many are now worse off than they were five to ten years' ago."

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    The pension pot 15:29: Inside Out

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    A children's hospice, thought to be the world's oldest, is to reopen following a major refurbishment.

    Helen & Douglas House in Oxford

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    Man jumps off gantry 14:50: Oxford Mail

    A man who closed Banbury Station after climbing a signalling gantry has jumped off.

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    Lines reopen 14:36: Via Twitter

    CrossCountry trains ‏tweets: Lines are reopen in both directions at #Banbury. For all those affected with delays over 30 mins today please claim: http://bit.ly/1mNHeFr

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    Film Journeys 14:09:

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    4624 Squadron, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force

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    Man halts trains 12:43: Oxford Mail

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    Trains suspended 12:30:

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    Abingdon heritage day

    Were you there? Send us your photos.

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    Railway tracks

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    First Great Western passengers may use: Virgin Trains and London Underground via any reasonable route.

    No trains 11:22:

    National Rail Enquiries tweets: NEW: No trains between Oxford / Banbury and Leamington Spa expected until 12:00 #Banbury http://nationalrail.co.uk/service_disruptions/82755.aspx

    Not going out? 11:09: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

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    As it happened
    • News, sport, travel, weather for Mon 15 Sep
    • More updates from 08:00 on Tuesday
    • Listen: BBC Radio Oxford
    In the news 10:59: Paul Jenner Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 11:00: Eight Tibetan monks are visiting a village in Oxfordshire today.

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    Some of the villagers have given the monks beds for the night as the group explores western culture.

    Charity abseil 10:46:

    Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre will be holding a charity abseil down the historic tower of St Mary Magdalen's Church in central Oxford in October.

    Mary Magdalen's Church in Oxford

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    Do you have a pension? 10:35: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

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    In the news 09:58: Paul Jenner Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 10:00: A £1.5m refurbishment of Helen House Children's Hospice has been completed.

    It's the first major work done at the hospice since it opened in the 1980s.

    Arachnophobes look away now! 09:46: Roz Tappenden BBC South

    Jo Law from Abingdon sent us this photo - she says it's a large garden orb spider having its lunch.


    Send us your photos., but I think that's quite enough spider pictures for today!

    Do you have a pension? 09:36: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    On BBC Radio Oxford this morning, we are talking about pensions.

    Despite all the warnings and government initiatives, it seems many workers are simply turning their backs on private and company pensions.

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    U's attendance 09:22: Ross Heaton Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Oxford United CEO Mark Ashton says the club is looking at ways of improving attendance for home games.

    Kassam Stadium

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    Heritage open day 09:06:

    Paul Finch of Abingdon sent us this photo taken during the town's heritage open days weekend.


    Were you out and about at the weekend? Send us your photos.

    In the news 08:59: Charles Nove Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Coming up on the BBC Radio Oxford news at 09:00: An Oxford woman has been ordered to pay back £12,000 she fraudulently claimed from Oxford City Council.

    Anetta Hall, who's 31, has also been sentenced to a 12 month supervision order.

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    Helen House 08:46: Phil Gayle Breakfast presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The world's first ever children's hospice - Helen & Douglas House in Oxford - is reopening today after a £1.5m refurbishment.

    It's the first major work which has been done at the hospice since it opened in the early 1980s. Most of the money needed has been raised through public donations.

    Tune in to hear more.

    Spot of rain 08:28: Holly Green BBC Weather

    Mostly cloudy the further north you are during the morning with hill fog and the odd spot of rain. Generally brighter and drier further south.

    Weather chart

    Becoming brighter also in the north later, but a chance of the odd sharp shower. Light winds. Highs of 19C (66F).

    Contraflow congestion 08:18: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The A34 is now queued southbound from the M40 at junction 9 to the Hinskey Hill Interchange because congestion at Hinskey is building due to the contraflow roadworks across the Southern Bypass between Hinksey and Heyford Hill.

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    M40 busy southbound 08:06: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

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    For the latest traffic and travel, tune in to BBC Radio Oxford or visit the BBC website.

    Good morning 08:00: Roz Tappenden BBC South

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you the latest news, sport, travel and weather for Oxfordshire today.

    You can get in touch throughout the day and tell us what you're up to via email, Facebook or Twitter.



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