Half of all post boxes are to be emptied just once a day as the Royal Mail seeks to cut costs.
Late collections will be axed for 45,000 to 50,000 post boxes as postmen and women are instructed to empty them as they carry out their deliveries. In total there are 115,000 post boxes and 12,000 in rural areas are already emptied during delivery rounds.
The new single collection time for the reduced-service post boxes is likely to be at any time between 9am and 3pm each day, depending on how far along a postie’s round they are.
However, a further 2,000 new post boxes are to be installed in areas where there are shortages, such as new housing estates and some rural areas.
In a statement the Royal Mail said the cuts in collections at up to 50,000 existing post boxes are to take place rather than remove those that no longer cover their costs. Most of them are in urban and suburban areas.
The reductions come as fewer letters and parcels are posted in the UK. In 2013 14.8 billion items were posted through the Royal mail, a 28 per cent fall on the 20.6 billion posted in 2008.
“The majority of postboxes will retain a 4pm or later final collection as they have now,” the Royal Mail said. “We will ensure that there is a late posting box within half a mile of each postbox that moves to earlier collections. There will be clear sign-posting for customers on the relevant postboxes indicating where their nearest late posting box is.”