Arqiva, operators of the Bilsdale transmitter, have provided another update on work to restore television signal in Harrogate and Knaresborough.
Arqiva have announced that poor weather conditions have forced a delay in switching on the new, temporary mast at Bilsdale.
A 100-strong team using helicopters have been working around the clock on the temporary mast, which is 80 metres tall, over recent weeks, and the building of the mast itself has been completed. However high winds, low cloud and heavy rain in recent days have forced a delay to the proposed switch on date next week.
The final installation work, checks and tests require good visibility and line of sight from the ground, while rain and winds above 20mph make it dangerous for workers to climb to heights and to lift equipment into place. Power lines and feeder cables to the antenna must be installed, and equipment has to be kept dry as it is fitted together to ensure safety.
As the safety of staff is the most important factor, the weather has unfortunately forced a delay. Arqiva’s aim is to complete all work, carry out the required checks and tests, and switch on the temporary mast to restore TV services for thousands more people in the period of October 13th to the 19th – again, dependent on the weather. Arqiva will provide more details in a media briefing in North Yorkshire on Monday.
The temporary mast will restore services to more than 90% of households across the region, which has been affected by the fire at the main Bilsdale Mast on 10th August. Work to dismantle the old, fire-damaged mast will begin soon.
Arqiva this week set out plans – working with local authorities, housing associations and charities – to support and help those who will still not receive a service as a result of the switch on of the temporary mast. Called Project Restore, the priority focus will be on over 65s, and clinically vulnerable and vulnerable people affected. A new website will carry information and updates for those affected and their families and friends to find out more.
Adrian Twyning, Arqiva’s Chief of Operations, is visiting the site this afternoon to meet the team, see progress and view conditions.
He said: “The team have been working tirelessly since we broke ground to meet the go-live date of 5th October. Unfortunately the one thing we cannot control is the weather and that has turned this week. I want to apologise to those people who were really hoping for their services to be restored after a long wait this week. We had worked hard for that that too, and this is immensely frustrating.”
“The wind, cloud and rain has a heavy impact on how we can work at height, and safety is our absolute priority. We will continue to work flat out to restore services to the people who deserve them, and we will provide a further update as soon as we can.”