BT have unveiled plans to scrap 25 public phones across Perth and Kinross.
Among the list of phone boxes which could be axed are three in Perth, one in Crieff, two in Blairgowrie, two in Dunkeld and several rural boxes.
Crieff’s James Square box is the busiest on the list for the upcoming consultation, and was used 219 times in the past 12 months.
Perth’s Priory Place box and the Invervar phone box in Highland Perthshire, which are also on the list, were also both used more than 100 times in the last year.
A letter sent to Perth and Kinross Council by BT said: “There are currently 25 public payphones in your area which have been identified and proposed for removal by BT under the 90-day consultation.”
The telecommunications giant say that use of payphones has declined by over 90% in the last decade and the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations is diminishing all the time, with at least 98 per cent of the UK having either 3G or 4G coverage.
The firm explained that 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.
Ofcom have confirmed that when BT proposes to remove the last public call box at a site, it must notify the council first and it cannot remove the box if the local authority objects in writing within 90 days.
BT’s criteria means it cannot remove phone boxes at areas renowned for accidents, suicides, on the coast or where there is no mobile coverage.
Ordinarily, the firm believes there is a “reasonable need” for phone boxes which are the only public call box in within 800 metres, where there are at least 500 households within 1km of the box or at least 12 calls have been made from the public call box within the previous 12 months.
Of the Perthshire phone boxes on BT’s hit-list, only nine have been used 12 times or fewer in the last year and four haven’t been used at all.
The company is hoping community groups will take ownership of the boxes for alternative uses and is offering to sell them for as little as £1.
Highland councillor Mike Williamson, who has 11 boxes in his ward up for closure, wants to see BT bosses change their mind.
He said: “I’m worried about a few in my ward as there is no mobile coverage in a few areas, particularly around Kinloch Rannoch and Glenlyon.
“I’d urge residents to write to the council and ask them to tell BT not to cut them off. For people stuck in the hills, they really are lifesavers.”
Consultation responses can be sent to email@example.com or by contacting BT.