‘Signal is a life or death matter’

James Cartlidge MP has set up a petition asking for better mobile phone signal in rural South Suffolk. ANL-160902-115245001
James Cartlidge MP has set up a petition asking for better mobile phone signal in rural South Suffolk. ANL-160902-115245001

A petition has been launched by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge to get improved mobile phone signal in rural ‘not spots’.

On Friday Mr Cartlidge launched a constituency-wide petition asking the Government to bring forward a new round of Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) funding to support new masts in the worst affected ‘not-spots’ in the constituency.

The petition was launched at the Coffee Box in Boxford, with residents and local councillors present.

One resident attending the launch said mobile signal could be a life or death matter.

Diana McCorkell from Groton, who looks after her husband, described a recent incident when he had slipped from the bed and, due to the lack of mobile signal, she had not been able call the emergency services.

“It was absolutely horrible. I didn’t have any reception so I had to wait for someone to call in and see us at the house in order to raise the alarm,” said Mrs McCorkell.

“I just had to watch my husband’s health deteriorate. I don’t think people realise this really is a life and death situation in a lot of cases. I am delighted that our MP is running a petition and campaign to try and improve the situation.”

A copy of the petition has been sent to all parish councils in the constituency.

Mr Cartlidge is hopeful constituents will either sign the physical copy by contacting their parish council or signing an online petition.

Improving the mobile telephone signal in South Suffolk was one of his central election pledges, and alongside the petition Mr Cartlidge will be lobbying Ministers and the Chancellor in Parliament.

Under the current MIP the Government has made funds available to improve mobile telephone infrastructure in the country’s worst affected areas.

South Suffolk had a number of sites identified as requiring better infrastructure and has received funding for a new mast in the Bildeston area.

“Although this development is heartily welcomed, many other sites were not able to receive funding due to various planning issues,” said Mr Cartlidge. “Boxford, with one of the most severe not-spots, is one such site.”

The deadline for submissions is March 4.

Mr Cartlidge will present the petition to the Government in advance of the Chancellor’s Budget.

He said: “At this time many other causes will be seeking funding and the petition will be crucial to making sure that South Suffolk’s voice is heard.”

To sign the online petition visit www.jamescartlidge.com/campaigns/improved-mobile-telephone-signal-south-suffolk-petition.