Glasgow & West Scotland

Inverkip Power Station chimney demolished

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Media captionDemolition experts were brought in to topple the giant chimney

Demolition experts have brought down Scotland's tallest free-standing structure with two explosions.

The 236m-tall (778ft) chimney at the former Inverkip Power Station, near Greenock in Inverclyde, was destroyed at 22:00 BST on Sunday.

It contained more than 1.4 million bricks and 20,000 tonnes of concrete.

The title of Scotland's tallest free-standing structure passes to Longannet Power Station chimney, in Fife, which is 183m-tall (600ft).

The Inverkip chimney, which was almost as high as Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, was toppled by two controlled explosions in quick succession.

About 700 charges placed half way up the structure were set off one second before the detonation of 450 charges at its base.

Before the blasts, a police helicopter had used thermal imaging equipment to ensure that no-one was in the area.

An exclusion zone of 600m had been put in place from 17:00, with debris expected to reach a maximum of 150m away from the blast.

About 70 police officers were present, with a further 40 security staff based around the perimeter.

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Media captionAerial footage of the chimney being brought to the ground

Dylan Hughes, from energy firm Scottish Power, said: "The demolition team have been working towards this day for two years, and it was fantastic to see all of our detailed preparations and calculations culminate in such a dramatic event.

"Comprehensive planning and consultation ensured the event could be managed safely.

"There has never been an explosive demolition of a structure this size in Scotland before so it is quite a feat to achieve a demolition on this scale."

Scottish Power said that Inverclyde Council was considering an application to redevelop the site for housing.

The Inverkip operation marked the end of a power station that was never able to fully operate as intended.

The oil-fired facility was given planning permission in 1970, and was designed to meet peak demand and provide flexibility to the electricity supply network.

However, the soaring price of oil in the 1970s meant the station was never commercially operated, except in 1984 and 1985 as a result of coal shortages.

The plant was kept as a strategic reserve until the late 1990s, when it was mothballed.

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