Residents in North Wiltshire will be getting later deliveries from the Royal Mail after the delivery company announced local changes to their policies. The news has angered residents as it comes just after it was announced that the price of stamps is to increase again.
Those living in postcodes SN13, 14 and 15 and some surrounding villages will be affected by the drive to modernise Royal Mail in the face of the plummeting numbers of letters the public now send through Royal Mail. The traditional postman’s bicycle is also being phased out as new high-capacity trolleys are being brought in to handle heavy packages. North Wiltshire will also be getting two new vans that Royal Mail will protect with transit van insurance and use them to reach the more remote areas of the county. Postmen and women will continue to deliver in the morning and for a longer period during the day. However, the company have confirmed that not all customers will get their mail by lunchtime.
Royal Mail Press Officer Valerie Antoine said: “Royal Mail is making a number of changes in delivery methods as part of a £2bn modernisation of its entire operation. This is part of one of the biggest transformations undertaken in UK industry. These changes do not involve a straightforward switch to vans for those postmen and women who have previously used bicycles. We will not be getting rid of all bicycles and they will remain part of our delivery operation. However, removing bicycles from parts of our operation will result in a number of benefits.”
It is not yet known who will be affected by the changes as it depends where the residents live on the round. The ones who live at the beginning of the new round will have their post delivered earlier, so they will not notice any difference. Unfortunately, some people will receive their post later but someone has to live at the end of the round. Royal Mail are aiming to have all post delivered by 3pm and all rural post by 4pm. Every household has been informed by a letter of the changes.
Surrey Police have this week announced that they will be deploying extra patrol teams and neighbourhood officers throughout January in an attempt to curb the rise of the theft of sat navs and catalytic converters from transit vans. For the last few months the thefts have been occurring on Friday and Saturday nights.
During the last five months the police have recorded a 7% decrease in vehicle crime compared to 2010, but report sat nav thefts have gone up 2% while thefts of catalytic converters have increased by 5%. Fixed Police Notices which contain crime prevention advice for motorists will be put on commercial vans in the hot spot areas or where vehicle crime has recently taken place. Thieves are targeting catalytic converters because of their scrap metal value. As a result, the risk of theft of catalytic converters is on the increase again and there has been a noticeable increase in the number of companies claiming on their transit van insurance policy.
It takes a trained mechanic up to three hours to remove a converter. However, thieves have been seen taking them within seconds because they have no regard for the vehicle’s condition afterwards. The converter helps to reduce emissions coming out of the van and they have a honeycomb construction inside which contains small amounts of precious metals including gold and platinum. It is this that attracts the criminals.
Inspector Richard Mallett said: “Having your van stolen or broken into can cause a great deal of expense and inconvenience and can push up insurance premiums. They simply do not care what the impact is of taking something which they get relatively small amounts of cash for. One of the saddest facts about this is that for a few pounds at the scrap dealer, people will cause hundreds of pounds of damage and disruption to someone’s everyday life.”
Dunbartonshire Council has released figures which show they have reduced their CO2 emissions and also cut yearly fuel costs by over £100,000 after they introduced new vehicle tracking technology.
The council, who run a fleet of almost 400 vehicles which are all covered by commercial van insurance, decided last year to invest in a fleet management system from TomTom Business Solutions in an attempt to cut CO2 emissions by at least a third by 2015. The council made their carbon reduction decision when they signed Scotland’s Climate Change Declaration. Between January and April 2007, all of Scotland’s 32 local authorities signed up to the declaration which includes taking steps to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of a changing climate, while working with communities to respond to climate change.
Rodney Thornton, the council’s head of Fleet and Waste Services, said “The fuel cost savings were a consequence of improvements to the way council vehicle operators carry out their duties. In the longer term it will also reduce service and maintenance costs, extend the working life of a number of vehicles and decrease the production of CO2. The council needed controlling mechanisms to regulate and influence the sustainable use of fuel. It was clear that many drivers, however unwittingly, were wasting valuable resources because of the way they drive. All local authorities need to play a key role in the challenge of climate change, and this demonstrates Dunbartonshire Council’s commitment to action.”
The council are due to roll out the TomTom system to all of their fleet in the next few months and they are also investing in an ecoPLUS device, which will feed the data directly from the engine of a vehicle. This will give the council a real-time view of the fuel efficiency of every vehicle, showing exactly when and where fuel was wasted. It will also enable them to give drivers advice on reducing average speed and avoiding harsh braking.