Historic Bilsdale mast crashes to earth in incredible controlled explosion following fire that left thousands without TV

Arqiva has confirmed that the 314m Bilsdale mast was safely felled in a controlled demolition yesterday (October 6).

The mast was damaged by a fire on August 10 resulting in the loss of television and radio services in the area.

Following comprehensive investigations, the 500-tonne structure was considered beyond repair.

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It was brought down by a specialist team using controlled detonations in order to preserve sections for the continuing forensic investigation into the cause of the fire.

The Bilsdale TV mast crashing to earth

As the damaged mast was deemed unsafe, an exclusion zone was set up in a two-kilometre circumference around it as part of the dismantling operation.

The controlled detonation was not publicised in advance to ensure safety and minimise the risk to those involved in the dismantling.

The mast was built in 1969 and has provided TV and radio services to North Yorkshire, the Tees Valley and County Durham ever since.

The direction of dismantling was specifically chosen to minimise the impact on the surrounding environment. 

Arqiva has stated it will ensure the moorland is restored fully, and will take specific measures to minimise the impact of the clean-up activity.  

Keith Frost, Director of Operations at Arqiva, Adrian Twyning, Chief of Operations at Arqiva, commented: “Safety is our number one priority and once we had clearance to fell the mast, and identified a suitable weather window, we acted quickly.

“The site is on remote moorland, and there is around 2km of perimeter that we have to secure before the mast could be brought down.

“This mast has been a part of the landscape in this area for decades, and we continue to work hard to restore TV services to those people affected by the fire.”

Arquiva is currently building a temporary, 80-metre tower close to the original mast, which it says will restore TV services to more than 90% of households across the region.

However, the project has been delayed due to bad weather.