Cockenzie Smoke Stacks Demolition

Submitted by edg on Mon, 7 Sep '15 11.19am
Time & place

After almost half a century of standing proud on the East Lothian coast, the twin chimneys of the Cockenzie coal-fired power station, just outside Edinburgh, will bite the dust.

Completed in 1967, Cockenzie Power Station generated more than 150 Terawatt Hours (TWh) of electricity in its lifetime, enough to power the average annual electricity needs of more than 1 million homes every year during its 45 years of operation. However, greater awareness and concern about air pollution and coal's warming impact on our climate have rendered coal power stations such as Cockenzie obsolete.

Scottish Power decommissioned the thermal power station on 15 March 2013 with plans to build a cleaner burning natural gas power station on the the 93-hectare site, but have since decided not to pursue that course.

The 149 metre stacks will be levelled along with the turbine hall structure which is predominantly made of steel, and measures 220 metres in length, 41 metres in width and 31 metres in height.

Immediately following a controlled explosive demolition of the chimneys at 12 noon, a second controlled explosion will be initiated to bring down the turbine hall structure.

The ‘button press’ on the day of the event, which will initiate the demolition of both chimneys, will be carried out by East Lothian resident Donald McCulloch, the winner of a charity raffle that was organised by Longniddry & District Rotary Club.

The sales of the tickets have raised over £7,800, with proceeds being distributed evenly between the Prestonpans community, Cockenzie & Port Seton community, Longniddry & District Rotary Club, and ScottishPower’s partner charity, Cancer Research UK.

Viewing locations

The stacks are visible from miles around. Those planning on viewing the explosion should note that an exclusion zone will be in place in the immediate vicinity (see PDF) from 9am to ensure that the demolition can be carried out safely.

The safety restrictions will cover the Greenhills, sections of Edinburgh Road and the John Muir Way, as well as extending in to the Firth of Forth. Traffic restrictions will also be in place in the vicinity of the power station from 7am. Edinburgh Road will be closed from Appin Drive to East Lorimer Place. A section of Whin Park housing estate and the West Harbour area will also be closed. Diversionary routes will be signposted. All restrictions will be lifted shortly after the demolition has taken place.

It is anticipated that viewing locations in the immediate vicinity of the power station will be limited. Police Scotland, ScottishPower and East Lothian Council have all recommended that people who would like to watch the demolition take the time to plan their position in advance.

The demolition will be undertaken by Brown and Mason, who have successfully managed similar projects for ScottishPower in recent years at Inverkip Power Station and Methil Power Station.