Delay the demolition of Didcot Power Station until 6am
  • Petitioning RWE Npower

This petition will be delivered to:

RWE Npower

Delay the demolition of Didcot Power Station until 6am

    1. Christine Reardon
    2. Petition by

      Christine Reardon

      Didcot, United Kingdom

Didcot Power Station is an iconic landmark across Oxfordshire and beyond. Whether you love or hate it, the towers have stood on this landscape for more than 40 years.

Didcot A stopped generating electricity in 2013 and has gradually been decommissioned over the last year. RWE npower have announced the three southern towers will be demolished, by explosion, on Sunday 27th July. Despite huge public interest in watching this, the time window for demolition has been announced as between 3-5am, before dawn.

Some of us have lived with the towers on our doorsteps for the last 40 years. Demolishing them whilst it is dark robs us of our chance to say a final goodbye. We are stakeholders in this project, yet our voice has been ignored. 

I call on RWE npower to delay the explosion until 6am and work with Didcot residents to ensure a safe, organised and memorable experience for everyone.

To:
RWE Npower
Delay the demolition of Didcot Power Station until 6am

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Petition response from RWE npower

      Christine Reardon
      Petition Organizer

      Dear all

      I have received the following response from RWE npower. There's nothing that hasn't been said already, with the exception of the link to the demolition website.

      In case you want to know where the 'dust cloud' will head the current forecast for 3am Sunday is for clear skies, with NNW winds of 6mph - but definitely check again closer to the date.

      Thanks
      Christine

      Dear Christine

      Thank you for your email of 7 July 2014 to Paul Massara and the Petition that accompanied it. As the senior manager within RWE Generation responsible for these activities, I would like to respond.

      I am sure that you will have followed the significant coverage in the local media on this issue, but I think it is important to cover the points directly in this communication to yourself so that you can understand why we must stick with our 3 am to 5am time slot for the cooling tower demolition.

      We place great importance on listening to our local community and we have already invited and met with the public at four drop-in centres and distributed 16,000 newsletters to local residents, explaining our Didcot A demolition plans. We shall continue to actively engage with the community as we progress this demolition over the next 2 years. Our commitment to “Ensure that the impact on the community is taken into consideration when making business decisions” remains vital to us and for this reason, we must put the Health and Safety of the community as our number one priority.

      We entirely recognise that many people would want to see the cooling tower blow down, but it isn’t advisable given the nature of explosive demolition and the unknown weather conditions on the day, which could affect the direction of the resultant dust cloud. Clearly the more people that turn up to see an activity such as this, the more difficult it is to ensure the safety of those attending. As such, the demolition industry has established a recognised “Best Practice” for such activities which is to minimise the number of people in the vicinity.

      The planning and timing of the demolition has been carefully determined by the demolition experts through consultation with a number of key professional bodies and stakeholders, whose primary aim is the safety of everyone – both the public and the staff involved. These include Health and Safety Executive, Network Rail, Highways Agency (HA), Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) and Thames Valley Police.

      Key safety considerations have included:

      Safeguarding the community by avoiding crowds of people from being exposed to the potential risks presented by the use of explosives. Over 180kg of separate explosive demolition charges will be used in the demolition of the southern Cooling Towers

      Ensuring no disruption to mainline railway by allowing enough time post blast to remove any concrete dust and debris from the railway line in time for the first scheduled train service. If dust were not to be removed from the line this could cause damage to points and signals.

      Mitigating the likelihood of a major distraction to drivers on the A34. Both the HA and OCC have indicated that traffic volumes on busy local roads including the A34 are at a minimum between the hours of 3-5am on a Sunday morning.

      In order that people can watch the demolition, we will be recording the event using a number of different filming methods, and we will ensure that this footage will be made publicly available. To ensure people can watch the demolition safely from their own home a live stream of the demolition will be shown on http://goo.gl/1MRZcm

      We really do understand how important this is to the local community but it would be irresponsible of us to put our community at risk, by encouraging more people to attend.

      I hope this has helped clarify why we are progressing in this way but please feel free to contact me if you have any further queries. I would be very pleased to meet you at Didcot this week to discuss anything further if you had time to come in and see us.

      Best regards

      Steve Boughton


      Steve Boughton
      Head of Business Development UK
      RWE Generation

      Coleman & Company | Latest News | Article Details

      Coleman & Company are market leaders in the provision of complex demolition and specialised associated services to Blue Chip, high profile companies, public sector organisations and strategic partnerships by a highly skilled, experienced team, delivering best practice at all times

    2. Reached 3,000 signatures
    3. Power station demolition: BBC Radio Oxford interview with RWE npower

      Christine Reardon
      Petition Organizer

      Dear supporters

      You may have heard the interview on BBC Radio Oxford today with Guy Esnouf, the director of external communications at RWE npower. He advised that the power station demolition will remain between 3-5am; the final consultation has taken place and it will not be changed.

      The interview makes interesting listening; the broadcast is available for a limited time here:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0222c4

      It starts at the 9 minute marker and again at 38 minutes.

      I've summarised the key points below:

      - RWE npower state 'sentiment cannot get in the way of safety' and 'this is not a social event; it's a demolition'. They advise the timing of the event has been agreed with the Health & Safety Executive and key stakeholders, namely Network Rail, Highways Agency and Thames Valley Police (no representation from the public).

      - David Prever, the radio presenter, challenged the assertion that Network Rail were responsible for the early time slot. Ed Vaizey appeared on Radio Oxford last week and advised that he'd spoken to Network Rail. They had emphatically said 6am is fine and that as long as the line was clear by 7am they would be happy to delay. Guy Esnouf advised he was not aware of this.

      - The railway line is closed between Didcot and Swindon the following weekend for engineering works. It was put to Guy that it would have made more sense to delay the blowdown until this date. He advised he was not aware of the closure details.

      - A listener stated it would be safer to have organised viewing areas rather than potentially thousands of people wandering or driving around in the dark for 2 hours. Guy Esnouf responded with 'we are not encouraging people to come out in the middle of the night. We want them to watch from home where there is no risk'. Despite this Guy then mentioned that he'd invited his nephew to come along and watch!

      - Guy stated they will be filming the event and 'almost certainly' streaming it live, but he gave no further details. RWE npower will not be organising viewing points.

      - RWE npower state it is not possible to reduce the 2 hour time slot due to (you've guessed!) Health & Safety. However 15 minutes before the demolition there will be a warning siren and flares.

      I am still awaiting an official response to the petition. As soon as this is received I will post as an update on this page. In the meantime, you may also wish to contact RWE npower yourself to raise your concerns or provide feedback on the decision.

      Down, but not out!
      Christine

      More paedophile arrests and Didcot's demolition plans, David Prever at Drivetime - BBC Radio Oxford

      The arrest of 600 suspected paedophiles, and the Didcot Power Station demolition plans.

    4. Petition submitted

      Christine Reardon
      Petition Organizer

      Dear supporters,

      Many thanks once again for your support.

      I have now submitted the petition to the CEO of RWE npower, Mr Paul Massara. This was accompanied by the letter shown below, which I hope accurately reflects the supporting comments left on the petition site. The letter was cc'ed to our local MP Ed Vaizey.

      Although the petition has been submitted I have left the page open to further signatures for others to demonstrate their support.

      Copy of petition letter (links and attachments have been removed):

      Dear Mr Massara

      I am writing to you on behalf of the residents of Didcot and the surrounding area.

      Just over a week ago I started a petition calling on RWE npower to delay the demolition time of Didcot A power station until 6am. As you are aware, it is currently scheduled between 3-5am on 27 July, on the night of a new moon.

      I have attached the petition and comments which have so far gathered almost 2700 supporters. It contains the signatures of those who watched the power station being built, those who worked there, local councillors, business owners and, most importantly, the residents of Didcot and surrounding area. Please read the comments from the petition signatories; these detail the many reasons why we wish to delay the demolition until daylight.

      We want RWE npower to fulfil the commitment made in your community involvement policy to:

      "Ensure that the impact on the community is taken into consideration when making business decisions".

      Despite this publicly displayed commitment the voice of Didcot residents has been ignored by RWE npower. Whilst the demolition is deemed by yourselves to be solely an engineering event, the people of Oxfordshire have lived with the towers for more than 40 years. The power station towers form part of our social history; they have shaped our landscape and are part of our heritage. Yet we have not been consulted.

      Your PR department has provided a number of reasons as to why you will not be moving the demolition time. The prime reason appears to be that of health and safety. Everyone wants this to be a safe event; this is not in dispute. As a large company you have many resources at your disposal which would allow you to organise a safe, memorable and momentous event for the community. However, you choose not to; presumably because you wish to save money on traffic and event management.

      RWE npower advise they have liaised with Network Rail and the Highways Agency. Did these organisations actively discuss the demolition or were they were presented with a fait accompli?

      The Highways Agency worked with Silverstone this weekend to manage thousands of Grand Prix visitors and road users. Why is it not feasible to organise a much smaller set of road closures at a relatively quiet time of day?

      Similarly, the first passenger trains do not pass the power station site until almost 8.30am on the Sunday morning. How many freight trains are actually scheduled to pass by between 6-8am? Given the frequent closures for overnight engineering work on the railway lines I am again sure that a one-off event could be accommodated.

      Many people had planned to watch the demolition from vantage points up to 20 miles away. If you proceed with the demolition during the middle of the night people will want to come in closer so they can actually see something. A local councillor contacted me to say he has been asking for safe viewing arrangements since January yet no collaboration has taken place to agree these. RWE npower appear to have washed their hands of responsibility for taking part in the organisation of any such arrangements.

      I believe one of your houses is in Oxfordshire so you may already have seen the local media interest this issue has generated. In case you are unaware, you can find details here:

      ITV local news clip (small part of a longer ITV bulletin):

      BBC Oxford website

      Didcot Herald

      Please reconsider your decision RWE npower, and delay the demolition time until 6am. Work with the community you serve, not against us.

      This email will be posted as an open update on the petition site; the signatories await your response.

      Yours sincerely

      Christine Reardon

    5. Reached 2,500 signatures
    6. Didcot Power station petition update

      Christine Reardon
      Petition Organizer

      Dear supporters

      Thank you for signing the Didcot Power station 'delay the demolition' petition; your support is greatly appreciated.

      As you may have seen in the local papers, our MP Ed Vaizey and David Buckle (Chief Executive of South Oxfordshire/Vale of White Horse District Councils) have written to RWE npower asking them to reconsider the demolition timing.

      I have also been in contact with RWE npower to share some of the comments made on the petition site and to call on them to take into account the strong feelings of our community.

      I will be keeping the petition open until Sunday 6th July and plan to present it to RWE npower early next week.

      Please can I therefore ask all of you to share this petition with your work colleagues, local friends and family, on social media and with any other contacts you may have. It's a numbers game now; we need to increase the signatories to ensure RWE npower listen to us!

      Kind regards
      Christine

    7. Reached 1,500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Jasmine Lee EAST HAGBOURNE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      I don't want the power station to go down all the memories we've had

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kirill Lasis OXFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      I live in Oxford and it will be impossible to get in to view the detonation at 3 am.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Geoff Watkins ABINGDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      Because I actually want to see it!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dave Headey FARINGDON, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      The power station has been a feature of my life for the past 38 years, we should be allowed to watch from a safe distance at a sensible time. Not beyond npower's capabilities.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anne Peat PEEBLES, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 2 months ago

      Local history should be shared by all - the locals would have contributed in cash in the past

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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