SITE operators of the Bilsdale mast have today (May 20) given an update and revealed the cause of the fire that saw the Bilsdale mast go up in flames last year.

Arqiva say work to establish the cause of the fire began soon after the incident when several interested parties commissioned investigations.

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Among those parties was Arqiva’s insurers and third-party owners of the equipment that share usage of the mast.

The Northern Echo:

Arqiva have been informed that the insurers have now concluded their investigation, revealing that the fire was caused by water entering an electrical component connected to third-party equipment.

However, site bosses say the precise findings of the investigation have not been shared and Arqiva is unable to comment in detail on these findings while the claims process is ongoing.

A further update by Arqiva is expected as soon as it is permitted to do so, site operators have said.

Arqiva has argued that a combination of factors has meant that the various investigations have taken many months to complete including difficult weather conditions and site safety rules.

The Northern Echo: Arqiva CEO Paul Donovan at Bilsdale mast Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTArqiva CEO Paul Donovan at Bilsdale mast Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

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Following the fire on the mast, forensic investigators visited the site on several occasions, along with representatives from third-party companies who use the mast.

Once the mast was demolished investigators were able to cut open the mast and carry out examinations of the internal structures, materials and contents.

Site bosses also stressed that Arqiva carried out comprehensive inspections of 48 other transmitters across the UK however, no faults or concerns were found during these additional inspections.

The news comes after it was recently announced the signing of a multi-million pound contract to construct a new 300m tall, permanent mast at Bilsdale - set to be completed by the end of the year - with a local steel constructor.

The Northern Echo: Alex Harper Operations Director at Severfield and Arqiva Chief Exec Paul Donovan at the Severfield site where the new Bilsdale mast is being made Picture: SARAH CALDECOTTAlex Harper Operations Director at Severfield and Arqiva Chief Exec Paul Donovan at the Severfield site where the new Bilsdale mast is being made Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

The contract was awarded to Thirsk-based steel constructor, Severfied plc, who will be responsible for building the new permanent structure, which has a project value in excess of £30m.

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Arqiva’s CEO Paul Donovan also confirmed last week that the Bilsdale mast would be completed by winter this year, an outcome which he said he was “pleased” with.

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