SITE operators Arqiva have confirmed today that the 314-metre Bilsdale mast has been felled in a controlled demolition earlier today.

Following comprehensive investigations on the mast, the 500-tonne structure was considered beyond repair by the infrastructure company.

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Arqiva say the structure was brought down as a result. A specialist team used controlled detonations in order to preserve sections for the continuing forensic investigation into the cause of the fire.

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

Site operators have said they will also ensure the moorland is fully restored, while also taking specific measures to minimise the impact of cleaning-up activities.

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

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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.”

Earlier this week, Arqiva confirmed that the new temporary 80-metre mast would be completed between October 13 to October 19 after just over a weeks delay due to bad weather.

However, in a media briefing on Monday, chief executive of Arqiva, Paul Donovan, did not rule out the possibility that another temporary mast may have to be constructed during the winter.

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.

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“We are talking about a temporary mast now, and a second temporary mast before Winter."


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