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Mayor Announces Steelworks Site Will Be “Down Within A Year”

  • £113million demolition plan with more than 1,000 people on site
  • Demolition on Redcar Blast Furnace to start on 2 August
  • Around half a million tonnes of scrap expected to be recovered

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (21 June) revealed that demolition of all major steelmaking facilities at the former Redcar Steelworks will start within a matter of weeks, with a commitment that every structure will be down within a year.

The first phase of the work has been taking place since the Teesworks site was launched last July and already 691 good-quality, well-paid jobs have been created.

The pace of demolition across the site will now be accelerated so that the land is investor-ready faster and jobs for local workers can be delivered sooner. The work will see all of the old iron and steelmaking plants demolished, with contracts for their demolition appointed by August and work beginning on 2 August. It is expected more than 1,000 workers will be on-site over the next 12 months to carry out the work.

The news comes just days after it was announced plans had been submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council for GE Renewable Energy’s giant, offshore wind blade manufacturing facility.

Mayor Houchen said: “The blast furnace has dominated Redcar’s skyline for the past 40 years but now we must move on, bring it down and look forward to the site’s bright future.

“I’m not letting anything get in the way of creating the high-quality, well-paid jobs people are crying out for. That’s why we’ll be signing up local businesses to get on site as early as August to demolish the remaining buildings, with the buildings and structures down within a year – way ahead of our original schedule.

“The sooner the site is cleared, the sooner we can get on with transforming it and realise its potential as a powerhouse for clean energy and advanced manufacturing, creating thousands of good-quality, well-paid jobs for local people.

“Since we secured a Freeport, the phone hasn’t stopped ringing with investors and at this rate there’s not going to be enough land to keep up with demand. For example, GE Renewable Energy’s project – which we secured thanks to our Freeport status – will support 2,250 jobs in construction alone, with an extra 750 direct highly skilled jobs and close to 1,500 more in the supply chain when it’s up and running.

“But there’s no time to pat ourselves on the back – we need to crack on with the job and step it up a gear to clear up the site to get more investors over the line.”

Cllr Mary Lanigan, Leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “This is about developing our world-class industrial site for both today and the future. It is crucial work which will help us attract investment from around the globe which could bring high-quality jobs for generations to come and I would like to thank everyone involved.

“As someone from a steel family myself – like so many in our borough – I can’t pretend there isn’t an emotional impact at seeing some of our former steel industry buildings being demolished. But those industries were new and cutting edge once and now we must be looking to the industries of the future once again.”

Jacob Young MP and Kate Willard OBE, Co-Chairs of the Teesworks Heritage Taskforce, added: “Teesworks’ history and what the site represents has been central to communities along the south bank of the Tees and the wider region for decades, and while it’s difficult to say goodbye some of the iconic structures from our skyline, the new jobs and investment that come in their place will be fantastic to see.

“We continue to work hard with Historic England, local photographers and videography companies to capture the assets as they were – and the amazing transformation. Recording the history of this site is hugely important now and for the generations to come and we’ve got some great results already. This is helping to put the importance of our rich iron and steelmaking heritage front and centre for us all while new opportunities and stories are being made on Teesworks.”