Phone firm planning two new masts near Hawick in bid to improve coverage

Flex, near Hawick.
Flex, near Hawick.

Two planning applications aimed at improving mobile phone coverage in two remote rural locations in and around Hawick could prove to be lifesavers, claims the company behind them.

EE, based in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England, has submitted two identical bids to build telecommunication equipment to improve coverage, particularly to give better access to the emergency services.

The first location is beside Wisp Flex Farm at Hummelknowhaugh near Hawick and is for the erection of a telecommunication tower and associated equipment in a fenced compound.

A second application relates to land west of Overshank Farm Cottage at Newcastleton.

Scottish Borders Council has expressed commitment to tackling so-called not spots in the region – locations where mobile phone coverage is poor or non-existent.

The council has been working with local and national politicians from the UK and Scottish governments, together with companies and associations, to tackle the issue.

The UK Government’s mobile infrastructure project, involving all the country’s major mobile network operators, has also been seeking solutions to the not spot problem since 2015.

Stuart Bell, Scottish Border Council’s executive member for economic development, said: “Bringing mobile phone coverage to those areas in the Scottish Borders that don’t have it is a priority.”

Not spots can lead to social exclusion in remote areas, are a risk to personal safety if residents are unable to contact emergency services and can be a barrier to business development.

EE, formerly Everything Everywhere, a division of the BT Group, was established in 2010.