It is a feature of television signals that they can be effected by the weather. Aside from the obvious damaged that can be caused by wind or torrential rain, the onset of summer can cause a more intriguing problem called "inversion".
Basically, when the sun heats up the land, the hot air can get trapped below cold air at high level. This creates an "inversion layer" which acts like a polished mirror to TV signals. This causes two problems: you can receive both the original and a reflected signal from your own transmitter (on analogue TV this appears as "ghosting") or interference from TV transmitters that are normally too far distant.
So, whilst a loft-mounted aerial will provide reception at some time, it will fail at others. The only real solution is to mount the aerial (or a new Class I aerial) outside on a pole, but some people report that changing the cable from the aerial to the set-top box to the high-grade satellite cable can also help.
The SCART connection, by the way, only carries a single TV picture, not the Freeview transmission multiplexes, so if this is disconnected it will result in degradation to every channel at once.
Anne Battersby : Your just 5km from Crystal Palace...so your recpetion should be excellent. Almost certainly you have a severe problem with your aerial system, because that is very very close. In fact you may need no more than an indoor aerial.
The Freeview helpline would have suggested exactly the same thing.