07 March 2006
Work has now started on the reclamation of the Westgate section of the former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale.
Walters (UK), the contractors appointed, have begun breaking up the concrete foundation left behind after the clearance of the old works buildings, in order to make a 50-acre section of the 200-acre site suitable for building on.
A total of 600,000 tonnes of rubble and soil will be moved over the coming months as part of the project by Blaenau Gwent Council and the WDA to regenerate the former steelworks site. The Westgate site is the proposed location for the new local general hospital, one element of an overall scheme which will eventually see a new Learning Campus, housing, leisure and business facilities established on the huge plateaus which were purchased by the Council in November 2005.
The work has been carefully designed to recycle on-site material in order to avoid the need to import or export heavy tonnages, and will take some ten months to complete a platform for redevelopment.
The £3.5 million contract was awarded to the Hirwaun-based contractors in December, with the funding coming from the WDA.
The contract is a key stage in the overall plan to reclaim the entire site, and to tackle the legacy of 200 years of ironstone and coal mining, iron and steel making, coke production, tinplating and locomotive maintenance.
In total, some £15 million of reclamation work will take place to prepare the site for use, involving the removal of the concrete foundations, infilling of a number of huge basements, and the treatment of a number of mine entries, drains and sewers.
Councillor John Hopkins, Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council, said: “People will now be able to see the progress every day, as the contractors will be using some very heavy machinery to break up the huge amounts of reinforced concrete on the site.
“By making careful use of the material recovered as a result of the work, we will be ensuring that a minimal amount of material is needed to be transported away from the site, and similarly no filling material will need to be imported to the site. This forms just part of our commitment to making sure that this project is carried out in the most environmentally sustainable way.”