South Scotland

Hundreds of Scottish phone boxes earmarked for axe

Phone box Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption BT said phone box usage had fallen by 90% in the past decade

BT is proposing to remove hundreds of phone boxes across Scotland in a fresh round of cuts.

It has earmarked 650 around the country - about 20% of the national total - to be taken out of service.

A previous programme saw about 1,500 closed - with hundreds of them "adopted" by their local community for a variety of uses.

If this round goes ahead it would leave about 2,600 phone boxes - a reduction of more than 60% since 2003.

The areas most affected by the latest removals would be the Highlands (110) and Scottish Borders (95).

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hundreds of phone boxes have already been "adopted" by their communities and converted

Thirty or more could go in Aberdeenshire, Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Fife and South Lanarkshire.

BT stressed it was not proposing the removal of any payphones on the Scottish islands or in areas where there was no mobile coverage.

Consultation on the plans will be carried out by the individual councils involved - as required by regulator Ofcom.

"Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90% in the past decade," said a BT spokesperson.

"We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including whether others are available nearby and usage."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boxes will not be removed in areas without any mobile signal

As part of the latest consultation, the company said it was offering communities the chance to adopt traditional red phone boxes for £1.

It said nearly 400 had gone down this route already and were used as libraries, defibrillator stations and even a mini-disco.

"The need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is also diminishing all the time, with at least 98% of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage," the spokesperson added.

"This is important because as long as there is network coverage, it's now possible to call the emergency services, even when there is no credit or no coverage from your own mobile provider."

Where are the boxes going?

Image copyright Adam Hope
Image caption Dozens of phone boxes in the Scottish Borders are proposed for removal
  • Aberdeen City - 13
  • Aberdeenshire - 30
  • Angus - 16
  • Argyll and Bute - 38
  • City of Edinburgh - 8
  • Clackmannanshire - 5
  • Dumfries and Galloway - 37
  • Dundee City - 16
  • East Ayrshire - 13
  • East Dunbartonshire - 3
  • East Lothian - 32
  • Falkirk - 11
  • Fife - 42
  • Glasgow City - 6
  • Highland - 110
  • Inverclyde - 2
  • Midlothian - 12
  • Moray - 14
  • North Ayrshire - 11
  • North Lanarkshire - 14
  • Perth and Kinross - 25
  • Renfrewshire - 12
  • Scottish Borders - 95
  • South Ayrshire - 9
  • South Lanarkshire - 37
  • Stirling - 21
  • West Dunbartonshire - 9
  • West Lothian - 9
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Durness is one community which could see phone boxes go

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