The Bilsdale TV mast has been felled in a controlled explosion today (Wednesday).
Arqiva, the company which owns and operates the mast, has confirmed that the 314m structure has been safely brought to earth.
It was seriously damaged by fire on 10 August. Following comprehensive investigations, the 500-tonne structure was considered beyond repair.
As a result 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 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 will also ensure the moorland is restored fully, whilst also taking specific measures to minimise the impact of the clean-up activity.
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.
Today’s dismantling work was not publicised in advance to ensure safety and minimise the risk to those involved in the dismantling.
A temporary, 80-metre tower close to the original mast is currently nearing completion which will restore TV services to more than 90% of households across the region.
Arqiva is also setting up an online hub which will provide up-to-date information on help and support for priority groups affected by the loss of TV services, including how to retune or repoint your TV.
It will be found at bilsdalemast.co.uk
Adrian Twyning, chief of operations at Arqiva, said: “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.”
If the weather allows they are aiming to switch the temporary mast on between October 13th and the 19th. This will give more than 90% of households a fully restored or improved service.
This date is also dependent on better weather.
Some people, in specific areas, still won’t receive a signal after the temporary mast is switched on. Engineers will only know which households are affected when the mast is up and running.