Consignia accused of wanting to stop more daily deliveries

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The Independent Online

Consignia accused its critics of scaremongering yesterday over allegations that it planned to cut more than 2,000 mainly rural Scottish households from daily deliveries.

Reports that Consignia wanted to persuade PostComm, the postal regulator, to increase the number of homes to which the company will no longer have to deliver mail six days a week caused widespread anger in Scotland.

Postwatch Scotland, which monitors postal services, said the company – formerly the Royal Mail – wanted to extend the number of exempt addresses from 43 to 2,284.

At least half of the possible new exemptions would have affected rural areas in the Orkneys, Shetlands, Western Isles, Aberdeenshire, Lanarkshire and Caithness.

The storm erupted during the ongoing consultation process between Consignia and PostComm in which the company provided examples of the type of exemptions that could be considered.

Under legislation introduced in 1840 the postal service has an obligation to deliver to households throughout the country six days a week unless there are compelling reasons why individual addresses should be exempt.

Postwatch Scotland said exemptions should only be made in "exceptional" cases and criticised Consignia's database, which contains details of addresses and the reasons they should be exempted, for being littered with inaccuracies.

Examples included a house listed as containing a "dangerous dog", which died four years ago, and a home marked "inaccessible" even though the owner said the road leading to it was regularly used.

A spokesman for Consignia said there was never any intention to increase that number of exemptions.