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Redcar steelworks blown up in one of UK’s biggest explosive demolitions

Watch: Redcar steel plant tumbles down after 'biggest demolition' of its kind in 75 years

A former steelworks has been blown up in one of the biggest explosive demolitions in the UK.

A dramatic video showed Redcar's 65-metre-tall (213ft) Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant being torn down in a controlled explosion on Saturday morning.

It took just seconds for the plant to be razed to the ground with a cloud of ash then spreading from the ashes of the building.

Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen, who pressed the button to detonate, described the moment as “bittersweet”.

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The 65-metre-tall (213ft) Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant in Redcar was torn down. (PA)
The 65-metre-tall (213ft) Basic Oxygen Steelmaking (BOS) plant in Redcar was torn down. (PA)

Houchen said the building, which is thought to have held around 105,000 tonnes of steel, had remained unused since its closure seven years ago.

According to the Tees Valley Combined Authority, the demolition, which used around 1.6 tonnes of explosives, is one of the largest ever to take place in the UK.

The plant shut down after 98 years in 2015 when SSI UK, which purchased the site in February 2011, was liquidated.

It stopped production in the same month when it was announced there was no realistic prospect of buyers taking it off the Thai owners.

Mr Houchen said: “Each demolition of the former steelmaking structures on this site is a bittersweet moment as they have played such a huge part in shaping our communities, people and identity for decades,” he said.

“Ever since the SSI steelworks closure brought so much heartache to our region almost seven years ago to the day, this plant has laid dormant and unused.

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Rishi Sunak (left) speaks with Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, during a visit to Teesside Freeport, Teesworks, in Redcar, Teeside, as he outlines his vision for the future of Britain, as part of his campaign to become the next leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party and Prime Minister. Picture date: Saturday July 16, 2022.
Rishi Sunak (left) speaks with Tees Valley Mayor, Ben Houchen, during a visit to Teesside Freeport. (PA)

“While we remember our past, we must never lose sight of the reason we’re doing this. I made a promise to build a better future for the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool and today is another part of delivering upon that.

“We’re already seeing that just a few hundred yards away, with construction under way on SeAH Wind’s huge offshore wind manufacturing plant – a £400 million investment already creating good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people.

“It’s soon to be joined by Net Zero Teesside and the 5,500 jobs that will be created just to build the £1.5 billion power plant with carbon capture, utilisation and storage.

“We’re continuing to clear the way to bring more cleaner, safer and healthier industries of tomorrow, creating good-quality jobs for local people.”