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Effects of new buildings on TV reception

Tall buildings can block television signals to neighbouring areas. When a tall building is planned it is good practice to carry out an assessment to determine whether TV reception will be impacted, and who will be affected. This is often required as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The area affected (the TV reception ‘shadow’) depends on the size of the proposed building and the location of the TV transmitter. Both terrestrial and satellite signals can be affected, although the ‘shadow’ from satellite signals is usually much smaller.

BRE offers a service to predict the effects of a new building on TV reception nearby. This involves plotting the TV reception ‘shadow’, including the effects of diffraction around the building. We then usually carry out a site survey to determine whether people are using aerials that could be affected by the new building. Often people may be using cable or satellite services instead of terrestrial TV signals, or the TV aerial may be high enough on the building to enable it to continue to receive signals.

If television installations are affected, BRE can recommend mitigation measures which might involve upgrading the aerial or using rent-free satellite services (Freesat). Usually the developer of the new building sets up a helpline which those affected can contact. If TV reception is affected, the developer then arranges for the installation to be upgraded. Following mitigation, TV reception is usually the same as, or better than, it was before the building was constructed.