NPOWER has defended its decision to hold the July 27 demolition of Didcot A power station between 3am and 5am.

The move was criticised by residents in Didcot and nearby villages, who say they would like to witness the structure’s final send-off.

And an online petition demanding the demolition be moved to 6am has gained almost 1,700 signatures. In an online poll conducted by the Oxford Mail, 80 per cent of readers who responded also agreed the towers should be demolished at a time when everyone could see it.

But last night nPower spokeswoman Kelly Brown said “local stakeholders”, including Network Rail, the Highways Agency, Thames Valley Police and Oxfordshire County Council, had requested it take place at that time.

She told the Oxford Mail: “Our prime concern is the health and safety of everyone involved.

“Large structures coming down could distract drivers, so the best time to do it is when there are fewer cars on the roads, such as in the early morning.

“Network Rail have also been a key consultant, because it will take place near one of their rail lines. We have to make sure that the line is checked by experts, with our assistance, to make sure there is no dust or debris of any form on there. The best time to do that is when there are fewer trains running. We understand the power station has been part of the local community for over 42 years and for many the demolition will mark a significant day for Didcot and Oxfordshire.”

To add your name to the petition, visit petitions/rwe-npower-delay-the-demolition-of-didcot-power-station-until-6am

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