TV services will not be restored this weekend after Bilsdale mast fire

Credit: Adam Gill

Households left without TV and radio services following a transmitter fire will not have services restored this weekend as expected.

Arqiva, the operator of the Bilsdale transmitter in North Yorkshire, says this is due to a legal issue in securing access to the site to build a temporary mast.

Read the latest statement from operators Arqiva:

"The majority of homes affected, more than 400,000, have now had their TV services restored, and FM radio and Digital Radio have also returned to most households.

The remaining stages of our plan require access to the original mast site to deliver materials, build and commission the temporary 80-metre mast which would expand TV services to the vast majority of households. The legal process to secure appropriate access to the site to build the temporary mast is taking longer than we initially anticipated and as a result it will not be operational by this weekend as we’d hoped.

We are making representations to the court as to the severity and the urgency of the situation but we are in the hands of the judicial system currently. We continue to speak to the landowner to see if we can reach an access agreement whilst the application is being processed. We are doing everything we can to move this forward as quickly as possible and are seeking the assistance of everybody involved to accelerate the process."

A statement from operators Arquiva on Friday 20 August, it said:

"Following the coverage improvement at Eston Nab yesterday, today we have completed the installation of the additional 15m mast at Arncliffe Wood, providing approximately 200,000 households with coverage for TV (PSB1, 2 and 3 multiplexes featuring the main BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel5 services)

The television relay at Skinningrove was also restored yesterday, providing channels from the PSB2 multiplex (the main commercial TV channels). Further work we expect to be complete early next week will provide these same households with the BBC channels and HD variants."

A statement from operators Arquiva on Tuesday 17 August, it said:

"We expect to return digital radio services from SDL and D1 from Eston Nab, providing digital radio on those multiplexes for much of Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and the coast to Hartlepool.

We continue to be in constant dialogue with all our broadcaster customers, Freeview and our regulator Ofcom regarding our plans, and updating MPs to keep them informed.

As per our previous update, we now expect to have completed the improvement of TV coverage from Eston Nab, and also the installation of a further 15m mast at a site in Arncliffe Wood by the weekend.

These two developments should deliver a significant improvement in TV coverage for viewers in the areas including Darlington, Stockton, Catterick, Leyburn, Masham and Ripon. We will update viewers on any action they need to take with further updates later this week.

Work on phase 2 of the recovery plan continues. We still anticipate the temporary mast to be effective by 28 August and are currently awaiting arrival of the 250 tonnes of concrete blocks that will make sure the 80-metre temporary mast remains in place once it is raised."

Engineers have partially restored some TV and radio reception to 'hundreds of thousands' of homes in the region, after a signal transmitter caught fire causing severe outages.

The following services are on air:

  • FM Radio: BBC Radio Tees, TFM, Capital, Heart, Classic - Broadcasting from Eston Nab, BBC Radio Tees – Also broadcasting from the Whitby relay

  • Digital Radio: BBC National DAB, Bauer Teeside DAB – Broadcasting from Eston Nab

  • Digital Terrestrial Television: PSB1 (incl. BBC1, BBC2 CBeebies and CBBC), PSB2 (incl. ITV, Channel4 and Channel 5), PSB3 (incl. BBC 1 & 2 HD, ITV1, Channel4 and Channel5 HD), COM4, COM5 and COM6 multiplexes – broadcasting from Eston Nab to a limited area

The 314-metre structure was built in 1969 to bring colour television to Teesside for the first time. It's believed half a million homes were affected by the signal outage.