A HUGE lack of mobile phone coverage in remote parts of Whitby moorland could put lives at risk, it has been claimed.
The stark warning comes from Whitby MP Robert Goodwill, who has implored telecommunication giants to signal a boost in connections across the national park.
Mr Goodwill told the Whitby Gazette he had received a raft of concerns from residents citing worries of lone agricultural workers who may be unable to contact emergency crews in isolated areas.
He said: “Although mobile phone companies often claim to have 95% of the population, not 95% of the geographical area.
“Many people have raised concerns that those who work alone in forestry or agriculture could be vulnerable if they are not able to summon emergency services.
“Indeed, for a person running a business single-handedly it is often vital to be contactable when out at work on the farm or moorland.”
Bosses from North Yorkshire Moors National Park said they were aware of Mr Goodwill’s concerns and were committed to improving the quality of mobile phone connections.
A spokesperson said: “The Authority is aware that the lack of mobile phone coverage in some of the more remote parts of the national park is of a great concern to residents.
“The total lack of a mobile phone signal acts as a barrier to both social and economic development and can also hinder emergency service responses.
“There will sometimes be a conflict in providing the infrastructure of telecommunications development in a sensitive landscape.
“However, we have been able to meet this challenge and have recently undertaken further discussions with mobile phone operators to highlight the degree of the problem.
“We believe these are essentially due to the economics of the service rather than difficulty getting planning permission.”
Mr Goodwill added: “I am delighted that the national park understands that this is a real issue and are endeavouring to improve mobile phone coverage.
“I am also happy to see that they will, at the same time, maintain and protect the wonderful natural heritage of the national park.”