“Enough is enough”: MP’s mast frustration

3 September 2021

Harrogate, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge MP, Andrew Jones, has written to the Chief Executive of Arqiva and the Secretary of State for Culture calling for more focussed action to restore TV signals to thousands of households in North Yorkshire.  Mr Jones’s intervention comes amid reports that a signal might not be restored to some parts of his constituency for another two months.

The Bilsdale transmitter was the victim of a fire on 10 August and TV services were lost to an estimated one million people.  The company which own the mast, Arqiva, have published regular updates and have restored some services to the majority of homes but wrangles over land ownership, planning rules for a temporary mast and access to the site are rumoured to be hampering efforts for a full and permanent solution.

Andrew Jones MP
Andrew Jones MP

Mr Jones commented:

Everyone understands that if a TV transmitter mast catches fire then services are likely to be interrupted for a week or two; maybe a month.  To be told after more than three weeks that services may be out for another two months isn’t acceptable.

I fail to understand therefore why the mast owners, the land owners and other stakeholders groups can’t get round a table and get a solution up and running quickly.  The television is a lifeline for many particularly those who are nervous about going out as much still.  It is hard to see why everyone can’t work together to get round issues of who owns the land, planning processes and other concerns.

That is why I have written to Arqiva to see what assistance I can bring and to the Secretary of State, Rt Hon Oliver Dowden MP, to see if he can help unblock the process here.


  1. Thank you Mr Jones. It really is disgraceful that there was apparently no forethought or contingency plan whatsoever should the Bilsdale transmitter ever go down. How was it ever acceptable for such an important part of 21stC infrastructure to be placed in an area which is so inaccessible or ecologically sensitive that the mast may take 3 months to repair?!

    I’ve had to continue shielding for 18 months now due to medical conditions. TV was my only escape. I bought a firestick, but it’s slow, often buffering in a rural area where internet speeds are only 20Mbps & doesn’t give a full service. Not too much to ask for competence & a contingency plan by whoever the contract for service is given to is it?

  2. Edit: In my last sentence I meant “by whoever the contract for maintaining the Bilsdale transmitter service is given to is it?”

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