A Haworth-based writer and publisher has welcomed efforts to secure a proper mobile phone signal for people living in rural areas.

Graham Smith, who had to contend with a poor to non-existent phone signal for six months this year, says he supports a Countryside Alliance campaign for better coverage.

The alliance’s head of policy, Sarah Lee, said: “Mobile phone reception is vital for rural homes and businesses, but the reception people get on the ground can vary distinctly from that predicted by their provider.

“That’s why we launched our Sick of No Signal campaign earlier this year to try to map the reality of no-spots in the countryside.”

Mr Smith, who lives in Sun Street and requires his mobile for work, said his Virgin reception began failing in February and March of this year. The problem remained unresolved through spring and into late summer, until he was eventually released from his contract.

After months of trying to resolve the issue, he now has a good signal from Vodafone. But he said many other people in the village have also been affected by the same issue.

“It really is very important, because such a lot of people primarily use their mobile for business purposes,” he said. “You expect to get the service you’re paying for, and you’re penalised with hefty charges if you use your landline to call other people who are on mobiles.

“You’d think that living in a fairly high up area we would get the benefit of a better signal, but until I was able to switch provider, that wasn’t the case.”

The Countryside Alliance has said it is backing regulator Ofcom’s five-point plan to improve mobile phone coverage.

This includes an undertaking to extend coverage to the ten per cent of the UK population who live in hard-to-reach areas, through the government’s £150 million mobile infrastructure project. It also seeks to boost coverage along roads and railways.