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:
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!