No U-turn on Bute’s ‘local’ post box

THE Royal Mail has insisted – again – that transporting second class local mail from Bute to Glasgow for sorting, and then bringing it back to the island to be delivered, is the “fastest and most efficient method” of dealing with the post.

Local councillor Len Scoullar wrote to the Royal Mail this week after receiving a growing volume of complaints from constituents about the time taken to deliver local items – that is, mail posted on Bute for delivery elsewhere on the island.

We first highlighted the farcical situation surrounding the closure of the ‘local box’ facility at the Rothesay sorting office in Bishop Street last June after it was brought to our attention by local author Jenny Chaplin.

Now Cllr Scoullar has written to the organisation’s head of Post Office relations, Stuart Taylor, asking that the decision to close the local box be reconsidered.

“I have been getting complaints from members of the public regarding excessive delays in second class delivery on the island.

“These have varied from five to twelve days after the date of posting and if correct, I agree and sympathise with the complainers.

“I am not an expert in mail collection or delivery but I cannot understand how it can be more economic and carbon friendly to carry this mail by vehicle and ferry, many miles on to the mainland to be sorted and then, again by vehicle and ferry back to Bute for delivery.”

We asked the Royal Mail for a response to the concerns brought to Cllr Scoullar’s attention, and received a statement which is the same, word for word, as the one given when we raised the matter eight months ago.

In case you missed it on the last occasion, here it is again, courtesy of Jennifer Bird, external relations manager for Royal Mail Group.

“All collection mail from the Isle of Bute is treated in exactly the same way as mail posted to and from any other part of Scotland. Mail is collected and channelled through one of our four mail centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness, because of the logistics of mail collection, sorting and delivery.

“This is the fastest and most efficient method of processing mail and complies with our Universal Service Obligation. All mail is processed by automatic sorting machines which greatly enhance the speed and efficiency of the mail processing system.”