A county councillor in Neath Port Talbot has criticised plans by BT to remove 30 public payphones in the county, saying not everyone has the luxury of a mobile phone or landline.

BT wants to get rid of the telephone boxes, claiming their overall use has declined by over 90% in the last decade.

The company said that as long as there was network coverage it was now possible to call emergency services even if someone didn’t have any credit.

As a result, the need to provide payphones for use in emergency situations was “diminishing all the time”, it explained, adding “at least 98% of the UK has either 3G or 4G coverage”.

However, Neath Port Talbot Councillor John Warman has called the plans “deplorable” and is urging communities to pull together to stop them being removed.

He said: “It’s important they stay – not everybody has the luxury of owning a landline or a mobile phone, and they can act as a lifeline for emergencies.”

Accusing BT of deliberately neglecting the payphones by failing to clean and maintain them in order to run them down and remove them, the Cimla ward councillor said: “The number of calls recorded to them were down because of this reason.

“British Telecom are starting to deliver the death sentence to remove all phone boxes in this country.

“It’s putting profit before people.”

He added: “Offering them to the communities for £1 to turn them into flower kiosks is not the answer.”

BT which is running a consultation on the planned removal said communities could adopt a “traditional red ‘heritage’ phone box for just £1” through its ‘Adopt a Kiosk’, scheme, transforming them into “something inspirational” for their local area.

A BT spokesman said: “Most people now have a mobile phone and calls made from our public telephones have fallen by around 90% in the past decade.

“We consider a number of factors before consulting on the removal of payphones, including whether others are available nearby and usage.”

A formal BT consultation on the plans ends on October 28 although Neath Port Talbot Council is asking for responses to the proposals by August 29.

For more details search for the planning application number P2019/5263 on npt.gov.uk or on the kiosk adoption scheme visit bt.com/adopt.

This is the list of payphones which are set to disappear, along with the number of calls which have been made from each in the last 12 months

Gors Lane, Cwmgors, Ammanford – Six calls

Hillside, Neath – 12 calls

Church Road, Cadoxton – 52 calls

Cimla Road – 12 calls

Heol Llwynon, Llygad Yr Haul – two calls

Gnell Park Road, Leonard Street – 21 calls

Aberhenwaun Uchaf, Seven Sisters – two calls

Lewis Terrace, Abergarwed – eight calls

Bryn Golwg, Clyne – one call

Heol y Felin, Cwmgwrach – four calls

Penybont Terrace, Crynant – four calls

Neath Road, Briton Ferry – 292 calls

Bryn Road, Cwmllynfell – zero calls

Wern Road, Ystalyfera – 11 call

Gurnos Road, Ystalyfera – 12 calls

Penywern Road, Ystalyfera – 12 calls

Afan Road, Duffryn, Rhondda – one call

High Street, Abergwynfi – five calls

Abbey Works, Margam – zero calls

Ynys Street – 48 calls

Newton Avenue – 139 calls

Abbey Works, Margam – 43 calls

Owen Terrace, Cwmavon – zero calls

Maesteg Road, Bryn – one call

Afon Villas, Cwmavon – two calls

Heol Heddwch, Neath Abbey – four calls

Pen-yr-Alley Avenue, Skewen – 35 calls

New Road, Skewen – 240 calls

New Road, Ynysmeudwy – 27 calls