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The dismantling of the first chimney at Battersea Power Station has started, Battersea Power Station Development Company has announced.
The decision to dismantle and rebuild the iconic chimneys was taken following extensive surveys and testing by experts who found that the refurbishment of the existing chimneys would only ever be a short-term fix.
The chimneys have been deteriorating as a result of the internal steel reinforcing, which has corroded during active use and through exposure to the elements.
This has created a situation where the concrete which makes up the chimneys is cracking and breaking away from the reinforcement, creating a risk of falling debris.
The process of dismantling the chimneys is taking place using a series of hydraulic jaws attached to a circular working rig at the top of the chimney. As the chimney is dismantled the working rig descends, with the debris being evacuated down a central funnel to be re-used or conserved.
Then, a new jump form rig will be assembled at the base of the chimney to help rebuild the chimney in stages.
Phil Gullett, chief operating officer of Battersea Power Station Development Company, said: “The four iconic chimneys are not only one of the most distinctive features of the London skyline, they are the very DNA of this historical building.
“After years of research and independent reports confirming this is the best strategy, we are now at the stage where the process of dismantling them and rebuilding them is underway and that means they are certain to be safeguarded for future generations.”
The development company has planned that once the first chimney gets to the point where it is re-built to half of its height, work will start on the dismantling of the other three chimneys, ensuring that the power station is never left without a chimney.