It is crunch time for Battersea’s iconic chimneys.

The dismantling of the first stack, the south west chimney, started today and involves a circular rig ‘munching’ its way down from the top.

Wandsworth Guardian: Battersea Power Station

Hydraulic jaws, attached to the rig, break down the concrete which is funnelled down the centre and will be used to rebuild the structures.

Once ‘munched down’ a new rig will be assembled at the base of the chimney to help rebuild it to its former glory.

Once the first chimney has been half built work will start on dismantling the other three chimneys, ensuring that at no point will the power station be left without a chimney.

Phil Gullett, chief operating officer of Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), said: “The four iconic chimneys are not only one of the most distinctive features of the London skyline, they are the very DNA of this historical building.

Wandsworth Guardian:

The station is being turned into luxury apartments 

“After years of research and independent reports confirming this is the best strategy, we are now at the stage where the process of dismantling them and rebuilding them is underway and that means they are certain to be safeguarded for future generations.”

The chimneys have to be knocked down and rebuilt by 2016 because the 103-metre towers are deemed a danger to the public.

English Heritage, Wandsworth Council and BPSDC looked into a variety of ways to repair the chimneys.

The chimney replacement programme, which will cost approximately £750m, will be finished in 2016.