Health and safety ends postie bikes

The days of posties on their bikes in Budleigh will soon be a thing of the past, after Royal Mail confirmed plans to scrap two-wheeled deliveries in favour of extra vans.

The company says the move is necessary for health and safety reasons, as today’s post workers have to deliver heavier bags of mail.

However, there are fears that a new fleet of vans will be worse for the environment, and would not prevent accidents.

Budleigh deputy mayor Councillor Caz Sismore-Hunt said: “In the last three years they haven’t had any accidents on the bikes, and they are saying it is health and safety.

“And what about the carbon footprint? When Budleigh Salterton Town Council is putting a cycle track on The Green [with Section 106 money] to encourage people to use bicycles, they are giving them vans. Where’s the logic in that?”

The town council was asked this week to consider a potential lack of parking space for new vans, but councillors felt it would not be appropriate to get involved in the affairs of Royal Mail, which is now a privatised company.

However, town mayor Councillor Steve Hall said he had been told that, if the change were made, some deliveries could take until 4pm.

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Responding to concerns, a Royal Mail spokesman said the changes at the Budleigh delivery office, which delivers to the town and surrounding villages, would probably happen next year.

He added: “Royal Mail is making a number of changes to delivery methods as part of a £2bn modernisation of its entire operation.

“As we deliver fewer letters but more parcels than we did in the past, we are removing bicycles from our operations across the UK.

“They are being replaced with vans and trolleys that enable us to take the weight off the shoulders of our staff and therefore deliver mail more securely and safely.”