SCOTTISH Conservative Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Alexander Stewart, has joined with colleague Liz Smith in a renewed campaign of urging BT to retain its much-needed Red Telephone Boxes in rural areas across Fife.

And there are several telephone boxes in the Cowdenbeath-Lochgelly area, which could be removed by the communications company.

These are at High Street, Cowdenbeath, near the Fountain; Main Street, Hill of Beath; Main Street, Lumphinnans; near the former Post Office in High Street, Cowdenbeath; The Pleasance, Kelty; Station Road, Bowhill; Wallsgreen Gardens, Cardenden; Carden Avenue, Cardenden; Lumphinnans Road, Lochgelly; Auchterderran Road, Lochgelly; Bank Street, Lochgelly; Lochleven Road, Lochore; Benarty Square, Ballingry; Main Street, Kinglassie.

Local Government Shadow Minister & Spokesperson Mr Stewart said that mobile phone coverage is not yet strong enough to see boxes removed.

He said: “BT is again threatening to remove quite a number of red telephone boxes from my region.

"My colleague Liz Smith ran a successful campaign a number of years back, when similar closures were proposed.

"This was when they and other telecoms companies, as well as the Scottish Government, were promising the continuous improvement of rural mobile phone and broadband/Wi-Fi coverage.

"Some years on, technology has vastly improved whereas mobile and wireless coverage across rural Scotland has remained woefully poor, as the Scottish Government has moved at a glacial pace to improve rural coverage, especially across Fife.

"Indeed, only recently OFCOM declared that Mobile phone coverage is “far worse” in Scotland than it is in England, despite telecoms customers having to pay out just as much. Their report indicated that only 38% of the country can receive good 4G services from all operators - while around 82% of England is covered, which is a significant difference".

Added Mr Stewart: "Of course, I can clearly understand why BT might remove phone boxes if zero calls are made but there are clearly situations whereby communities still want and do use them, which our recent rural canvasses have also suggested.

"BT is fully aware of this and the fact that the UK public have successfully blocked quite a few in recent months especially where mobile signal and broadband coverage is so weak. On one occasion a few years ago for example, my colleague Liz Smith was able to help an injured climber in Linn of Dee, when the only lifeline was that of a red phone box.

"We only have a short space of time until the deadline of November 2, so we must renew the pressure on BT to ensure the retention of these valuable and potentially lifesaving telephone facilities.”