A leading expert in Thames tidal activity has issued a shocking warning that tomorrow’s planned controlled explosion demolition of the Isle of Grain power station chimney could trigger a ‘tidal wave of water and mud’ that would head straight for Southend On Sea – he fears that the pier may be ‘severely damaged.’

The Isle of Grain power station chimney in Kent has been a landmark for visitors to South Essex coast for many years, and it is due to be demolished at 11am on Wednesday. 

However, Dr Irving Pelmet of the University of Manningtree is concerned that its location next to the Thames could spell disaster for the residents of Southend On Sea and the surrounding coastal towns. 

He said: ‘I cannot believe that the chimney is going to be taken down in just a few moments with an explosion. The wind in that area is always unpredictable and can change at a moment’s notice, and if the structure falls into the sea it will displace a huge amount of water and mud.’

‘With the help of my team of researchers, we have mapped 30 different potential outcomes using current tidal patterns, and 29 of them result in a huge mass hitting locations between Benfleet and Shoeburyness and causing devastation – the other outcome involves no damage whatsoever but we only see that as a 1 in 30 chance.’

‘Southend Pier has sustained some significant damage in recent months with cracked pile caps, and it would not be able to withstand a tsunami of any size – this is why I have sent an urgent email to the site manager and begged them to reconsider.’

‘Taking it down brick by brick would be time consuming but it could save the lives of millions of people.’

We asked Dr Pelmet about emails that we have received from readers who are worried about how the demolition could affect the explosive wreck of the SS Montgomery that rests between Shoeburyness and North Kent.

He said: ‘I can assure everyone that the wreckage is just outside of the impact zone. Anybody who says anything to the contrary is merely scaremongering.’

‘I have already had a number of angry phone calls from people who are saying that my predictions are false because of the tide being out. While that may be true, it must be remembered that a moving mass of wet sand can be just as deadly as water.’