TV and radio disruption expected for two more weeks following Bilsdale mast fire

Households left without TV and radio services could be waiting another 14 days before services are restored following a transmitter fire.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 12:31 pm
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.

A fire at a remote 1,000ft TV transmitter mast that has disrupted broadcasts in North Yorkshire and North East has been extinguished – but TV and radio services may not be restored for another two weeks.

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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Arqiva, the operator of the Bilsdale transmitter in North Yorkshire say that work to restore all services may not be finished until next Friday, August 27.

Last Friday Arqiva announced that they plan to install a 80m temporary mast at Bilsdale to reinstate TV coverage.

A spokesperson said: “This part of our plan should reinstate TV coverage for the vast majority of viewers who receive signals directly from Bilsdale.

"Due to the work required to deliver this solution we expect that work to be complete within 14 days from now.”

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In their latest update yesterday the company said the Fire Service were able to access the base of the mast for the first time since the fire broke out.

The spokesperson added: “Over the weekend work has continued at both our Eston Nab site and Bilsdale itself in efforts to recover services for more people.

"The Fire Service were able to access the base of the mast for the first time since the fire broke out and we are now able to begin the process of assessing the condition of the mast itself. There are no findings to report at this stage and we will update as soon as we are able.”

Firefighters say there is nothing at present to suggest a blaze was started deliberately but further investigations are continuing.

The mast operator also apologised for the ongoing disruption, adding that they are “committed to delivering a solution for our broadcast customers and you, their viewers and listeners, as fast as we can.”

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