SITE operators of the Bilsdale mast have not ruled out the possibility of a further temporary mast as they revealed which areas will be in what they are calling “not-spots”.

In a media briefing in Whitby on Monday, Arqiva’s chief executive Paul Donovan explained that although bad weather has delayed the new 80-metre temporary mast, he is confident it will be operational between October 13 and October 19.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

The infrastructure company has also released a map showing an estimation of “not-spot” areas across the region where people will be receiving no signal, even after the new temporary transmitter has been constructed.

Showing the North Yorkshire coast to be the most affected the map also shows that many parts of the dales and some County Durham areas will be without signal as well.

However, there have been some suggestions that this new temporary mast may not be able to stay operational through bad winter weather.

Arqiva initially hoped the new permanent 300-metre mast would be in operation before the temporary 80-metre mast was taken down through the winter.

This is no longer the case as Arqiva have hinted at a possible second temporary mast that may be built between now and winter to ensure signals don’t drop during this time.

Mr Donovan said: "We have a contingency plan to put in place a tower rather than a mast, on the Bilsdale site. That will take some time before that work is complete.

“But that would provide a more solid temporary site. 

“We haven’t ventilated this in great detail, but we are talking about a temporary mast now, a second temporary mast before Winter and then the new 300-metre mast.

“I’m confident in all but exceptional circumstances, the temporary mast that we are constructing will provide service going forward.

“However, what we want to do is to make sure we explore all possible contingencies, so we may very well build another mast."

Asked about why emergency plans weren't in place to mitigate the impact of the mast fire, Mr Donovan said that "it is practically impossible to have full contingency plans for all the major broadcast mast across the UK.

"The only way to properly mitigate that would be to build a structure of a similar size right next door."

He added: "We were comfortable we had a robust disaster recovery methods.”
The infrastructure company stressed that the new mast would bring coverage to the majority of the population."