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Caithness News Bulletins September 2004

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Telephone Boxes To Go In Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross  
Rob Gibson SNP MSP for the Highlands and Islands has signed a motion that calls for a halt to BT's plans to close around one thousand telephone boxes throughout Scotland.

His colleague Bruce Crawford MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife who lodged the motion calls for better consultation between BT and Community Council's before it goes ahead and closes any boxes.

Mr Gibson says that communities in the Highlands and Islands may be worse affected if phone boxes disappear and sights the village of Berriedale in South East Caithness as a prime example....
"The Community council of Berridale have contacted me saying that their phone box is likely to be lost, if this was to happen it would be nothing short of dangerous as there is no mobile reception in the village and the steep and twisting road that run either side which is regarded as many as the worst part of the whole A9.

He continued...
"BT must take into account that phone boxes in rural and remote areas of Scotland are a potential life line, as people living in the Highlands and Islands will tell you there is no such thing as 100% mobile phone coverage and indeed not everyone owns a mobile phone therefore to remove boxes is tantamount to removing safety rings that are placed beside the countries waterways. It may be true that neither of them are used much; but in an emergency it is better to know that they are and can be used than not."

Text of Bruce Crawford's motion
S2M-01706 Bruce Crawford (Mid Scotland and Fife) (SNP):
That the Parliament recognises the value of public telephone boxes as an important public service throughout Scotland in terms of social need and access to emergency services; is concerned about the plans by British Telecom (BT) to close 165 call boxes in towns and villages throughout mid-Scotland and Fife and around 1,000 around Scotland; supports the many community councils who have expressed grave concern at the planned closure of public call boxes in their communities; considers the consultation
process conducted by BT to be inadequate, and therefore believes that BT should consult directly with the communities affected and reconsider its plans.