Redcar Blast Furnace: What next for the former Teesside steelworks site?

The Redcar Blast Furnace stood for over 40 years and began producing steel in 1979. Credit: Paul Kingston

Redcar's historic blast furnace was demolished this morning to make way for future development on the former steelworks site.

It comes as part of a series of demolitions on Teesside, including the Dorman Long Tower and the Redcar Coke Ovens.

What follows will be known as the Teesworks, focusing on green energy and industry.

The blast furnace site itself will be home to a new project used to reduce the Teesworks' carbon emissions, called Net Zero Teesside.

Graeme Mallows from BP and Net Zero Teesside said: "Teesside is home to some of the largest density of carbon intense industries anywhere in the UK and they all appear in a relatively compact geographical area.

"That means it's an ideal location to use techniques such as carbon capture storage to help them de-carbonise."

The carbon capture technology works by compressing CO2 emissions and piping it 150km offshore into the North Sea.

It is then injected and trapped into layers of solid rock 2km underground.

The project is being led by energy giants BP, Shell, Total, Eni, and Equinor.

The Redcar Blast Furnace stood for over 40 years and began producing steel in 1979. It ceased production in 2010 before being restarted again

The furnace was lain dormant in 2010 before being restarted by SSI UK when they took over its ownership from Tata Steel in 2012.

In 2015, SSI entered liquidation, sparking the loss of more than 2,000 jobs overnight.

  • Report by Julia Breen

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen led a compulsory purchase of the vast site from SSI so that it could be redeveloped.

The site was given freeport status, meaning companies relocating there can benefit from tax breaks and reduced bureaucracy.

Mr Houchen said: "We can never understate how much the steelworks site has defined Teesside’s history and shaped our communities, but I’ve always been clear we need to look to the future to create new jobs on this site that will employ generations of local people, just as the steelworks once did.

"We will never forget our past – but from it we are building a new future."

Other Teesworks projects include Dorman Point - named after the tower - which will convert waste into energy, reducing the carbon footprint of businesses on site.

South Bank, a 4,500,000ft² site on the banks of the River Tees, is set to be used for manufacturing, logistics and distribution.

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