Scottish Countryside Alliance

 
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Innovation fund to boost rural broadband solutions

The Government has pledged that 95 per cent of the UK will be connected to superfast broadband by 2017. The new fund aims to help the final 5% not currently part of the £1.1bn national programme.

 

The Scottish Countryside Alliance has long believed that a range of technologies, such as mobile, satellite and wi-fi connections, should be used to deliver broadband to those remote areas that fibre optic provision is unlikely to reach.

 

Jamie Stewart, Countryside Alliance Director for Scotland said : “Broadband connectivity is as important to those living in rural Scotland as a connection to water or electricity. “

 “We hope this fund will ensure the roll-out of broadband happens as swiftly as possible, so as to ensure the digital divide does not grow any wider and enable rural communities and businesses to compete economically and socially with their urban counterparts.

£10m however is just a drop in the ocean, especially since connecting up rural areas is traditionally more costly due to sparse populations that make a return on any investment much more difficult to achieve.” We continue to work with the Mobile and Satellite Operators and will press Westminster and Holyrood in a bid to have Scotland’s disadvantaged communities prioritised.

 

Campaigns-Rural Life:

Fuel tax rebates for 13 areas ‘a big relief for Scotland's rural drivers’ says Alliance

Thursday, 15 January 2015

The Scottish Countryside Alliance is delighted that petrol prices could become more affordable in 13 of Scotland’s most rural communities.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander announced today (15 January) that the European Parliament has approved plans for a fuel tax rebate at filling stations in 17 areas across the UK, including 11 in the Highlands and two in Argyll and Bute.

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Innovative broadband project may be the answer for hard to reach Scotland

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomes the announcement of the eight innovative projects – including one covering Scotland and Northern Ireland - which have been chosen by the Government to test alternative ways of boosting superfast broadband coverage in rural areas. See the list of projects here
The ground-breaking projects chosen to be tested in the £10m Department of Culture Media and Sport initiative were revealed today (19 June) and include a satellite project, from Avanti, which promises speeds of up to 30Mbps.

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Don’t make rural drivers wait for fuel rebate, says Scottish Countryside Alliance

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Rural communities should not be made to wait for their fuel VAT rebate, says the Countryside Alliance.
Seven Highland areas are included in the Treasury’s plans to offer cheaper fuel in remote parts of the UK, unveiled in August.
It is an extension of the current rebate scheme which allows retailers of road fuel within the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, the Islands of the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to claim back five pence per litre (ppl) relief on unleaded petrol and diesel for retail sale within the eligible areas.
However Highland MP Danny Alexander, who is Chief Secretary to the Treasury, announced on 5 November that the extension has been put on hold until next year, to pinpoint other communities also deserving of a price cut.
This means the application to the European Commission for it to be implemented will not now be made until next year, and those communities already chosen will have to wait longer for the proposed rebate.
Countryside Alliance research shows that the rural commute is an average of 25% more expensive than the urban commute and fuel prices tend to be higher in areas with fewer petrol stations and less competition.

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Rural commission report welcomed by Scottish Countryside Alliance

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Scottish Countryside Alliance welcomes the Final Report and Policy Recommendations from the independent Scottish Rural Commission, which sets out 97 recommendations to improve the lives of rural Scots.
The commission was chaired by Hughie Campbell Anderson, a land agent and former chairman of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards. He and the five other commissioners have spent more than a year examining all aspects of rural life, including agriculture, housing, planning, transport and environmental issues.
Around one in five Scots live in rural areas, which make up as much as 94 per cent of the country’s land area.
The Rural Commission received written and oral submissions from experts and ordinary members of the public from across Scotland also heard how many communities are struggling to survive because of poor broadband access.

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Mobile phone reception poor on rural roads, reports Ofcom

Friday, 25 October 2013

Just 35% of the UK’s A and B roads are served by all four 3G networks and 9% have no 3G coverage at all, according to the Ofcom’s annual infrastructure report, published yesterday (24 October).
Sarah Lee, Countryside Alliance head of policy, said: “This shocking statistic is further evidence that rural areas have been left behind in the roll-out of mobile technology.
“Good connectivity is important for rural communities and those who rely on the road network to conduct their business, particularly if they are to compete economically with urban areas.
“These figures further demonstrate the need for closer monitoring by Government to identify the true coverage of the mobile network.

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Universal postal service and rural post boxes saved!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Despite a fall in the amount of mail being sent, communications industry regulator Ofcom has this week announced it is extending protections against post boxes being removed. The regulator also voiced support for the universal postal service, something the Countryside Alliance is vocal in backing. The costs to the consumer of removing the universal postal service was something no one wanted to countenance and it is encouraging that it will stay in place. 
Claudio Pollack of Ofcom said: "Consumers and businesses across the UK have told us that they place a high value on the universal postal service. Our decision not to change that service means the needs of postal users will continue to be met."

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Dongles for Durness

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

The Scottish Countryside Alliance and Three Mobile working together for the Countryside

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Countryside Awards

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Rural Oscars....

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