2012 Finalist

The end of an era?

The end of an era?

The final broadcast from the BBC world service transmitting station at Rampisham took place on Sunday 29th October 2011. This is a great shame, not least because when it closes completely at the end of this year, around 20 local people will lose their jobs, in a very rural area where new employment will be difficult to find.

Being situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it seems bizarre that the 100 metre tall monster pylons which supported the transmitting equipment were ever allowed to take over the skyline. It seems even more bizarre that they may well be dismantled over the next 12 months. For me, always having lived in the shadow of these vast metal structures, it will be very strange to see them go and I think many locals will feel like a little piece of their home has been taken away. My father can recite a list of unexpected locations miles from here where the masts can be spotted on the horizon.

In a world where demand for up-to-the-minute information is deemed a necessity, it does seem a backwards step to be dismantling a top UK facility which can reliably broadcast to the whole world, reaching places where internet in inaccessible or unaffordable. On the plus side though for the locals, the news of the closure brought renewed hope of improved television and radio reception. All technology failures in the vicinity have historically been attributed to the transmitting station, disregarding the more plausible explanation that it's just because we are tucked away in a remote valley. There are lots of myths and stories about the pylons. The invisible rays from the radio station are widely regarded to be doubtlessly frazzling our brains and there have been stormy nights when the BBC world service has been heard booming out across the dark fields due to some type of short circuiting… eerie!

Now that transmitting has finished, let's hope the site is used wisely - there are not many sites that could be better placed for a wind farm. It is high on a ridge, with the national grid running directly through the site and public support that would be unheard of anywhere else. Residents here are used to a 'unique' skyline and have voiced their support of such a venture. My children could then look out for the Rampisham wind turbines, just like I used to search for the pylons on a journey home.

And as for my TV reception? Still dreadful, and yep, still feeling frazzled!! 

Written by Lauren G at 20:19


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