Explosive demolition design underway for next phase of Ironbridge Power Station clearance

New engineering investigations and calculations are underway at Ironbridge Power Station in Shropshire, as decommissioning consultancy RVA Group prepares to oversee the next phase of demolition using the controlled use of explosives on behalf of site owner Harworth Group plc.

The site’s four iconic hyperbolic cooling towers – constructed from 45,000 tonnes of reinforced concrete – were brought to the ground in less than 10 seconds in early December 2019, following more than 5 months of behind-the-scenes preparatory works. The same scientific and robust demolition methodology will now be deployed in phases to clear the power station’s bunker bay, turbine hall and de-aerator bay, over the remainder of the project.

Elsewhere, decontamination work is continuing on the safe removal of all hazardous materials within the 180ft boiler house and turbine hall, and minor structures are currently being demolished using mechanical techniques. Close collaboration with environmental and community groups also remains ongoing to ensure maximum respect for the site’s ecological habitats and surrounding neighbours.

Progress of the programme – which it is estimated will have expended 250,000 man hours by the time of its completion – takes the 350-acre site several steps closer to becoming a residential-led mixed use development. Once home to one of the largest power stations in the UK, this vast expanse was acquired by land and property regeneration specialist Harworth Group in June 2018. Harworth submitted an outline planning application for the site’s redevelopment to both Shropshire and Telford Councils in December 2019 and should planning be granted, the site’s redevelopment is expected to take a further decade to complete.

With more than 25 years’ industry experience and having completed almost 800 complex demolition assignments worldwide, consultancy RVA Group was appointed as principal designer for the project in April 2019. The specialist team continues to support the activity of contractor Demolition Services Ltd.

Commenting on the ongoing works, RVA’s managing director Richard Vann said:

“Harworth Group came to us because they were looking for a collaborative strategy involving the client, contractor and consultant, making the best use of all available technical skill-sets – crucial on a project of this scale.

“Their priority is the safe execution of works, so we rigorously audited the proposed methodologies to ensure best practice techniques would be adopted throughout the demolition and associated processes. From the outset the project approach has been and will continue to be open dialogue with all stakeholders, enforcement agencies and interested parties. The demolition project is just one of many stages of the overall development programme lasting over several years, and we have to ensure that the needs of all are considered from start to finish.”