24 July 2015

Artist David Cotterrell scaled the 90 metre high chimney at E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows Biomass Plant to get a bird’s eye view of the renewable energy facility and across Sheffield and Rotherham as part of the Tinsley Art Project.

David, assisted by Adam Long from Sheffield-based rope access company, Access Techniques Ltd, made a number of climbs up the chimney to install a high tech camera, which will capture a 360 degree view of the landscape and changing activity over a 12 hour period.

The filming is part of the Tinsley Art Project which will create a major piece of public art in the area with the brief for the commission released at the end of the summer. The project is funded by £500,000 pledged by E.ON to the Council when the Tinsley Cooling Towers were demolished.

Councillor Isobel Bowler, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods said: “We are delighted that this project is now underway and that the brief for the main artwork will soon be tendered.

“We are looking forward to producing something really special in the area that will act as an integral part of the regeneration of the area and a real asset for the city.”

Artist David Cotterrell said: “The view helps you to understand how crucial this place is to the functioning of the city. From the top of the chimney you see and appreciate the road network, the river, canal, rail, tram and footpaths that all converge on this point. There are also the unseen flows of power and heat from the biomass plant and even sewerage to the nearby treatment works.

“The story of Sheffield is written in this view – you look west along the valley over the city centre to the Peak District, from where the fast flowing streams powered the city’s first industry. To the east are the coal measures that once fuelled heavy industry and below the sites of the former steel works where Sheffield’s reputation as steel maker to the world was forged.”

Luke Ellis, Production Manager at E.ON’s Blackburn Meadows Biomass Plant, added: “We are delighted to have facilitated David to put his camera at the top of the plant’s chimney. The images show the plant in its setting, supplying sustainably generated electricity to the local community.”

The Biomass Plant which runs on locally sourced recycled waste wood provides enough energy to power around 40,000 homes and will also supply heat directly to homes and businesses in the area through a low-carbon district heating network, which is currently undergoing commissioning.

Fully qualified rope access technician Adam Long from local company, Access Techniques Ltd, commented: “We work on tall buildings every day, but it is the first time I’ve worked on a power station that is clean, modern and carbon-neutral. The top of the chimney is wonderfully isolated and gives a real bird’s eye view across Sheffield, from Rotherham right across to the Peak moors. It was great to meet David and his insights brought a whole new perspective to the landscape.”

The edited film from the chimney will be used as part of the artist’s brief for the main art commission and will be shown at an exhibition of David’s work reflecting on the area at The Scottish Queen Gallery at Park Hill from 8 August.

David added: “In a way, the film sets the tone for the major art project. Everyone looked up at the cooling towers and this is looking back at the city from 90 metres in the air – and as near as possible to where they once stood. The focus of the project is not to create a towering landmark, but to draw people to this interesting and rapidly changing part of the city.”