Emley Moor: Work starts to take down temporary mast at iconic Yorkshire tower

The Emley Moor transmitter (known as Arqiva Tower). Picture By Yorkshire Post Photographer,  James Hardisty.
The Emley Moor transmitter (known as Arqiva Tower). Picture By Yorkshire Post Photographer, James Hardisty.

The Emley Moor transmission mast has stood on high ground near the village of Emley in West Yorkshire since 1970 when it replaced another structure which famously crashed down in bad weather.

But in recent years the mast has had a slender companion, a temporary transmitter which has been operating while the main one underwent major work.

Now the temporary mast is being removed. It was constructed in the spring of 2018 and was due to be removed in 2021 but work at the very top of the main concrete mast, measuring 1,084 feet, has taken longer than expected.

The temporary mast was needed so engineers could update the antenna on the tower as part of a nationwide project to clear some frequencies, transferring them from TV use to mobile data. A number of antennae have been replaced and the ones at the very top have been removed.

The temporary mast began broadcasting in 2018, but is now being taken apart following the completion of the work.

Transmission switched back over to the main tower earlier this year, telecommunications company Arqiva said.

The temporary transmitter enabled engineers to carry out updates to the main transmitter as part of a nationwide 700MHz Clearance Programme to clear some frequencies previously used for TV to instead be used for mobile data.

Removal of broadcasting equipment from the temporary mast had already begun and the Emley Moor site would be "completely closed" while work was carried out, an Arqiva spokesperson said.

The old metal mast was brought down at Emley Moor by the weight of ice forming on its supporting cables.

Despite falling across a road and causing damage to a chapel and the transmitter building nobody was hurt.

Emley Moor carried pictures from Yorkshire Television and the newly established BBC2 colour service. A mobile transmitter was used to get ITV back on air a few days later.

Part of the collapsed transmitter was given another lease of life when it was turned into a race control tower at the Huddersfield Sailing Club in nearby Holmfirth.