MANY of us may, at times, hanker for a mobile -free zone, but we would baulk at the idea of our entire locality being so designated.

That, however, has been the situation in real terms for the 230 residents of the island of Coll, and they are having to adjust to the prospect of that changing forever.

There are only a couple of places on Coll where a mobile phone signal can be picked up and they come from the neighbouring island of Tiree but a planning application has been lodged for the erection of a 50ft mast with six antennas and two transmission dishes to bring the island into the age of modern communications.

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It is understandable that there is some concern being expressed by those who place a high value on peace and tranquillity. But if the regener­ation of Scotland's economic hinter­land is to become a reality, the mobile phone has to be considered just as important as the ongoing roll-out of broadband, which is rightly a government priority. And in the case of the island's doctor, for example, a mobile could even save lives.

We may, at times, loathe a trilling ringtone. But we must accept that it is a boon as well as a necessary evil.