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Scotland's Tallest Freestanding Structure Meets An Explosive End


ScottishPower today (Sunday 28th July) carried out the explosive demolition of Inverkip Power Station Chimney, Scotland's tallest freestanding structure, measuring 778ft. 

Over half a tonne of explosives were used in the demolition, which consisted of two blasts one second apart from each other. The first blast occurred on the 10th floor of the chimney, 90 metres up, followed shortly after  by a second explosion at ground level.

The button was pushed at 10pm by Sally Foster, who donated more than £500 to Cancer Research UK, ScottishPower's principal charity partner. So far the company and its customers have raised more than £2 million for Cancer Research UK since November 2011.

ScottishPower's contractors will remain on site until the end of the year to complete the demolition programme. Inverclyde Council is currently considering a planning application to redevelop the site to create new homes.

Dylan Hughes, ScottishPower Project Manager, 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."

The demolition was overseen by ScottishPower's principal contractor Brown & Mason.

Inverkip Stats

  • Inverkip Chimney is believed to be the tallest structure ever to be demolished by explosives in Scotland (it was the largest freestanding structure in Scotland) at nearly 800ft (778ft).
  • Two separate explosions took place one second after each other. The first happened on the 10th floor (95m above ground), followed closely by a second detonation at the ground level.
  • An exclusion zone of 600 metres was in place from 5pm
  • Approximately 70 police officers helped to manage the event, with support from a Police boat and a Police helicopter.
  • More than 40 additional security staff were also be in place to manage the perimeter. 
  • The chimney consisted of 5 brick flues with more than 1,400,000 individual bricks which were laid by hand, encased in 20,000 tonnes of re-enforced concrete.
  • The tip height of the structure was just under 800ft (778ft), and is approximately the same height as Canary Wharf (One Canada Square) in London – and not far below the elevation of Arthur's Seat (approx 823 ft).
  • Following its removal, the Chimney at Longannet Power Station in Fife will become Scotland's tallest freestanding structure (600ft)

The removal of the chimney stack marked the end of a power station that was never able to fully operate as intended. Inverkip was an oil fired power station granted planning consent by the Secretary of State for Scotland in March 1970. Construction commenced in October that year of a station consisting of 3 x 676 MW units, with a total generating capacity of 2028 MW.

The station was designed to meet peak demand and provide flexibility to the electricity supply network. However due to the soaring price of oil in the 1970’s the station was never commercially operated except during 1984/5 when it was required to operate due to coal shortages. The plant was kept as a strategic reserve until the late 1990’s when the plant was mothballed.

The scheduling of the event was planned following detailed discussions with the Police, The Local Authority, Network Rail and Clydeport.

Media Information: ScottishPower Press Office, 0141 614 4660

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