Grangemouth residents see doomed Longannet chimney lit up one last time

Just days away from its final demolition Longannet’s famous chimney has been illuminated with a message of hope for the future – although not for the coal industry.

Monday, 6th December 2021, 11:21 am

Following on from COP26 in Glasgow, ScottishPower projected the Global Warming Stripes on the chimney stack at the Kincardine site – the final remains of Scotland’s last coal-fired power station.

The slogan “Make Coal History” could be seen far and wide as the call to action was beamed on the chimney stack, which is due to be finally demolished on Thursday.

The blow down of the station’s chimney will be a milestone moment in the removal of what was once the largest power station in Europe. The chimney has been a regional landmark for generations, dominating the Forth skyline at around 600 feet high.

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The projection on the Longannet chimney states "Make Coal History"

Although it ceased generation in 2016, the chimney remains the largest free-standing structure in Scotland.

Ahead of the demolition, ScottishPower lit up Longannet with Global Warming Stripes, which were created by Professor Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading.

The stripes show the change in global temperature from 1850 to 2020, with shades of blue showing cooler-than-average years and red show years that were hotter-than-average.

The projection demonstrates the importance of climate action and the need to act now to tackle the climate crisis.

Scottish Power chief executive Keith Anderson said: “The Global Warming Stripes remind us why the UK needs faster action and greater ambition to meet net zero emissions targets and help save our planet. Scotland has been coal-free since we closed down Longannet in 2016 and today we’re calling on everyone to join us in making coal history once and for all.”

Scottish Power stated its is investing £10 billion in the UK over five years – that’s £6 million every working day – to double its renewable generation capacity and drive forward decarbonisation to support the move towards net zero emissions.

Last month Grangemouth Community Council received information from ScottishPower about the Longannet chimney demolition, scheduled to take place at some point on the morning of Thursday, December 9.

The correspondence stated: “On or around December 9 – weather dependent – a planned major, non-emergency demolition event will take place at Longannet Power Station.

"This demolition has been carefully planned and resourced within a controlled safe environment by the demolition contractor Brown and Mason, under the supervision of the demolition site manager.

“Small quantities of explosives will be used to aid the demolition of the structure and will result in a higher than normal noise levels or rising dust that may attract your attention. This will only last a short duration, please do not be alarmed at this time.”

The writing was on the wall for the Kincardine power station, which opened in 1973, as soon as Scotland and the world made a commitment to move away from coal-fired facilities to more environmentally friendly means of power generation.

However, the plant still far exceeded its original three decade lifespan and operated for 46 years, eventually being decommissioned in 2016.

Back in 2018 Spanish rolling stock engineering company Talgo, which specialises in manufacturing fast, lightweight trains for countries like the USA and Saudi Arabia, announced the Longannet site was preferred location for its new factory.