Farmer bids to have land designated as an 'offline blackspot' for visitors wanting to go off-grid


Sarah Redman says people enjoy using her shepherd's hut to get away from their phones and social media

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 4:30 pm

Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 5:21 pm
Sarah Redman, who is lobbying to have the land around her farm protected as an official offline blackspot (Photo: Paul Chappells/PA)

Sarah Redman is asking the authorities to prevent the introduction of 3G, 4G and 5G networks in the area of her farm, Creeside Farm near Galloway Forest Park.

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If her attempt is successful, it is believed it will be the first time this has happened in the UK.

She said that people who stay at their off grid Shepherd’s Hut enjoy getting away from their phones and having a “digital detox”.

Switching off

The hut also features in what is said to be the first “off grid” map of the UK which pinpoints many of the best locations where people can switch off from emails and social media.

“Improving connectivity around the country is vital to all of our daily lives, but as important steps are made towards improving this in rural areas, it's interesting to consider the impact it might have on some of our much-loved off grid spots," she said.

"Everyone who stays at our Shepherd's Hut actually want to get away from their phones.

"The fact we don't have Wi-Fi or reliable signal at our Shepherd's Hut B&B is a big selling point.”

The off grid Shepherd's Hut at Creeside Farm (Photo: Paul Chappells/PA)

Ms Redman said what was being proposed was a level of protection around the land owned by the farm, which would stop masts being allowed to be put up within a certain proximity.

"It’s about restricting networks on a small area, and wouldn't impact the ability to make emergency calls, nor stop connectivity being improved from the surrounding area," she added.

Her request has been submitted in response to a consultation document published by South Ayrshire Council.

Poor signal

The map’s locations were selected because they receive poor or no 3G, 4G or 5G signal within the surrounding area, with the top 10 including Glencoe Valley and Galloway Forest Park in Scotland and Cathedral Cave in the Lake District.

It comes as new research for the firm found that more than half (56 per cent) of 1,000 UK mobile phone users questioned found it impossible to switch off from technology.

Additional reporting from PA Media.

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