Changes to Redcar steelworks begin with big bang

Work to demolish one of the region's industrial landmarks, the former Redcar steelworks, began today (20 March) with a boom.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen pushed the plunger on the controlled explosion which flattened the old coal handling facility. 

Built in the 1970s, it was used to help blend the coal that came in via ship and transform it into different grades for onward export.

Some of this was also then sent on to the ovens to turn it into coke, which was used to power the blast furnace.

The site, which over the coming months will see more structures demolished, will become part of the Tees Valley Freeport. Announced by the Chancellor in his budget it is made up of economic zones close to the port, where businesses can benefit from tax breaks and and simplified customs arrangements. 

The Tees Valley Mayor outlined that work has also been taking place on similar projects, such as the tearing down of the torpedo ladle sheds to completely clear the 143-acre Dorman Long site paving the way for a new commercial zone.

The leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council says the investment in the Teesside site will bring good quality jobs for local people.