BT plans to remove a third of phone boxes in the region

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BT is currently consulting on plans to remove 104 of the 161 payphones in the Borders area.

In Berwickshire this would mean most of the small villages being without a phone box in the future if it goes ahead.

The list of Berwickshire phone boxes at risk includes those at: Ladykirk, Paxton, Hutton, Polwarth, Gavinton, Cockburnspath (2), Longformacus, Cranshaws, Gordon, Fogo, Simprim, Eccles, Leitholm, Birgham, Mellerstain, Ellemford, Chirnside (2), Edrom, Lamberton, Burnmouth, Ayton, Duns and Eyemouth (2).

A BT spokesperson said: “BT is committed to providing a public payphone service, but with usage declining by over 90 per cent in the last decade, we’ve continued to review and remove payphones which are no longer needed.

“Any removal of payphones is carried out in strict adherence to the Ofcom guidelines and, where appropriate, with the consent of local authorities.

“In all instances where there’s no other payphone within 400 metres, we’ll ask for consent from the local authority to remove the payphone. Where we receive objections from the local authority, we won’t remove the payphone.”

Borders MSP John Lamont said: “These phone boxes provide a lifeline for many rural communities, both for visitors and the people who live there. While their usage has inevitably fallen it remains vital to many local communities to continue to have access to a phone box where mobile phone reception is patchy or non-existent, and for those who choose not to have a landline.

“In an emergency, the closure of these payphones could cause real problems.

“The key to keeping them lies with Scottish Borders Council. Anyone who shares my concern must send the council the message that our phone boxes are important.”