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Volume 571: debated on Monday 25 November 2013


Monday 25 November 2013


Business, Innovation and Skills

Replacement of Blaxhall Post Box (Suffolk)

The Petition of residents of Blaxhall,

Declares that Royal Mail has declined to replace the stolen post box in the village despite Ofcom’s recent measures to protect rural post boxes from removal.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to support residents of Blaxhall in their request to Royal Mail to replace the post box.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Dr Thérèse Coffey, Official Report, 15 October 2013; Vol. 568, c. 703.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

This is an operational matter which rests with Royal Mail’s management.

Royal Mail points out that the post box formerly located at the junction of Station Road and Church Road in Blaxhall was not well-used and on average only five items of mail were collected from it in any given week.

Ofcom, as the independent regulator for postal services, recently published a statement introducing new protections for consumers in rural areas regarding Royal Mail’s provision of post boxes. Under the new framework, Royal Mail must ensure that, for 98% of the 29 million addresses in the UK, there is a post box within 0.5 miles. For the remaining 2% of addresses. Royal Mail must provide sufficient access points or other means of access to the universal service to meet the reasonable needs of users. These new requirements have extended regulatory protection to all addresses in the UK, including rural addresses for the first time.

Ofcom monitors Royal Mail’s compliance with the 98% requirement on a national basis (currently 98.4% in the UK and 99% in England) and in the case of Blaxhall Ofcom has noted that the nearest alternative post box to the site of the stolen post box is 0.7 miles away and there are four other post boxes within 1.5 miles.

Although some addresses within Blaxhall may now be further than 0.5 miles from a post box, Ofcom consider that Royal Mail is meeting its national obligation and is providing sufficient access points locally to meet the reasonable needs of Blaxhall residents.