How to claim TV licence fee refund following Bilsdale mast fire

Households left without TV and radio services for more than a month following a transmitter fire can now apply for a partial refund for their TV licence – and here’s how.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 11:31 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 10:19 am

A fire at a remote 1,000ft TV transmitter mast has disrupted broadcasts in North Yorkshire and North East for more than a month – and many households are still without services.

The 1,032 ft-tall structure was built in 1969 and the coverage area encompasses County Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Darlington, and down to Harrogate, York, Filey, and Whitby.

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Handout photo of smoke billowing from a fire at the Bilsdale transmitting centre in North Yorkshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 10, 2021. PA Photo. Firefighters extinguished the fire but concerns remain around the structural integrity of a transmitter mast, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) has said.

The majority of homes affected - more than 400,000 - have had services restored.

Now, refunds will be offered to people who have been unable to receive TV coverage for more than a month, and who are unable to watch BBC programmes via BBC iPlayer and on cable and satellite platforms.

The BBC said in a statement: “Customers in the affected area who have been unable to receive TV coverage for over a month, and who are unable to view BBC programming through BBC iPlayer and on cable and satellite platforms, will be eligible for a refund or be offered a free extension to their TV Licence to cover the months affected.

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“We are continuing to work with our suppliers Arqiva to ensure services in the affected area are resumed as soon as possible.”

Customers will be able to request an extension to their licence through the TV Licensing website, or via calling TV Licensing call centre on 0300 790 6096 after September 10.

TV licensing have also confirmed that those households affected for less than a month will not be able to claim for a refund.

In their most recent statement on Friday (August 27), a spokesperson for Arqiva said: “We continue to work through the process to enable access to the Bilsdale site to build the temporary mast.

“There is no specific new detail to share at this point but we are continuing to work round the clock to find a way forward.”

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