Cause of Bilsdale mast fire which left 500,000 homes without TV revealed

06/10/21 - Bilsdale destroyed - Arqiva
Credit: The mast was destroyed after the fire

A water leak has been blamed for a fire at the Bilsdale TV and radio transmitter, which left more than 500,000 people without TV reception.

The transmitter caught fire on 10 August, leaving homes across North Yorkshire, Teesside and County Durham and without signals. Many were disconnected for months.

Arqiva, which operated the mast on the North York Moors, said it understands the water damage was connected to third-party equipment.

It added that the work has taken many months to complete due to difficult weather conditions, the size of the structure and the need to gather various materials and components on site before they could be reviewed and laboratory tested.

It has again apologised to customers who lost services because of the fire.

Adrian Twyning, Arqiva's chief of operations, said: "We continue to work closely with our insurers, customers and third-party companies to ensure the continued safety, security and operational resilience of all our mast sites."

The fire-hit mast was demolished and a temporary transmitter was erected in September 2021, followed by a "more resilient" temporary structure in February 2022.

Earlier this week Arqiva said a new replacement mast would be in place before 2023.

Since the fire the company said it had inspected 48 transmitter sites across the UK where no faults or concerns were found.