Demo progresses on Redcar steelworks

By Leila Steed16 November 2022

A date has been set for the demolition of the main blast furnace at the SSI Redcar steelworks in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

The Redcar Blast Furnace The Redcar Blast Furnace. (Photo: Teesworks)

Demolition specialist Thompsons of Prudhoe will use explosives to take down the bulk of the 365 ft (111 m) tall blast furnace - which was built in 1979 and was once said to be the second largest of its kind in Europe - on Wednesday 23 November, weather depending.

While the upcoming implosion will also encompass the furnace’s associated casting houses, charge conveyors and dust catcher, the four gas stoves that heated the furnace will be demolished separately later this year.

This latest demolition follows the blow down of the Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant (part of SSI Redcar steelworks), which Thompsons carried out just last month.

The Redcar site, which is located in the coastal town of Redcar, had been in operation for nearly a century but closed in 2015 after the sites owner Sahaviriya Steel Industries UK (SSI) entered liquidation.

The Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant during demolition Thompsons of Prudhoe demolished The Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant, part of the SSI Redcar steelworks, last month. (Photo: Thompsons of Prudhoe)

The site is now part of the Teesworks industrial development zone, which covers 4,500 acres of brownfield land near the River Tees, in the Tees Valley.

Jacob Young, Member of Parliament for Redcar, said: “This demolition will bring about mixed feelings for many Teessiders – and I’ll be among their number on the day. The hard work of the Heritage Taskforce will ensure the memory of the Blast Furnace and our proud steelmaking history will be documented and recognised for generations to come.

“Progress on Teesworks is continuing apace and, while there will be a lot of sadness when the skyline changes, we have huge projects such as Net Zero Teesside which will offer a cleaner, brighter and more prosperous industrial future for us all.”

According to the Tees Valley Combined Authority - a partnership of five local authorities that aims to drive economic growth and job creation in the region, the demolition of the 65-metre-tall (213 ft) structure was thought to be one of the biggest explosive demolitions to ever be carried out in the UK.

Speaking of the decommissioning of the site so far, Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “The Redcar Blast Furnace has marked our skyline for decades – and it will be an emotional day when it comes down.”

He added: “This has been one of the biggest, most complex, and condensed demolition projects ever to take place in the UK.

“We’re accelerating our plans to make the land investor-ready as soon as possible to take advantage of all the opportunities our status as a Freeport brings.

“I know this is a highly emotive subject for many – but they should rest assured that the Teesworks Heritage Taskforce has been doing a brilliant job of making sure the site’s past will never be forgotten.”

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