Helicopters fly in material for temporary TV and radio mast in Bilsdale

Helicopters are flying building materials into the North York Moors for a temporary transmitter which will restore TV and radio signals for thousands of homes.

Helicopters are flying building materials into the North York Moors for Arqiva's new 80m mast

The 80m tall mast, which is due to be operational on October 5, is being built near the 1,000 ft transmitter in Bilsdale that was damaged by a fire last month.

Operator Arqiva says it will provide Freeview TV signal to more than 90 per cent of the homes in the area which were served by the old transmitter.

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Around 200 concrete blocks, each weighing 750kg, are due to be airlifted in over the coming days to anchor the temporary mast and helicopters will also be used to erect it.

The blaze in Bilsale on August 10 affected Freeview, DAB, and FM radio signals for more than 1m people in Yorkshire and the North East.

Arqiva has apologised for the disruption and restored the signal for more than 500,000 homes, but the operator has been accused of failing to adequately support elderly and vulnerable people in the area who feel cut off from the outside world without a working TV.

Adrian Twyning, chief of operations at Arqiva, said: “We are working around the clock to restore services to those people who are affected as quickly as possible. Using the helicopter is part of that effort and is the least disruptive way of transporting materials across this remote and sensitive environment.

“Arqiva has experience of using helicopters in this way, and we have successfully completed more than 50 projects on our sites over the years that required a helicopter to lift material or equipment into place.

“This is a huge logistical effort involving over 100 people and, subject to bad weather or any other unforeseen difficulties, we are making good progress towards completing the works on Tuesday, October 5.

“The 80m temporary mast more closely matches the coverage pattern of the existing mast than the temporary sites we have built at Eston Nab, Arncliffe Wood and Sutton Bank.

“Properly checking the 80m temporary mast requires us to turn off those other temporary sites for a period the day before, Monday, October 4.

"That means some households will see disruption to their service on that day, for which we apologise in advance.”