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Royal Mail reveals list of 28 areas where COVID has caused limited delivery service

Ross McGuinness
·4-min read
A Royal Mail worker wearing a protective face covering to combat the spread of the coronavirus, leaves a Post Office in the City of London with a trolly of packages on December 29, 2020, as UK businesses and individuals learn to follow new rules after the UK leaves the European Union. - New rules come into force over the sending of parcels to the EU (European Union) in a post-Brexit world. Any parcel being sent from England, Scotland or Wales to an EU country should have a customs declaration form attached to it from today, December 29. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Royal Mail has revealed the UK areas worst affected by coronavirus delays. (AFP via Getty Images)

Royal Mail has published a list of 28 areas in the UK suffering a limited delivery service because of the impact of coronavirus.

People in the areas, 27 in England and one in Northern Ireland, are no longer receiving regular post because Royal Mail staff are either off sick with COVID-19 or are self-isolating.

Of the areas listed, 13 are in or near London, while others include Leeds in West Yorkshire, Chelmsford in Essex, Widnes in Cheshire and Margate in Kent.

The area affected in Northern Ireland is Magherafelt in Co Londonderry.

Watch: The 28 UK areas suffering COVID postal delays

Some residents have complained their mail has not been delivered for more than a month.

Fears have also been expressed that elderly residents will not receive letters notifying them of how to access the coronavirus vaccine.

Seven new large-scale vaccination centres opened across England on Monday.

Watch: New vaccine centres open around England

Valerie Wallbank, from Hainault, north-east London, told the Ilford Recorder she had not received any mail since 12 December.

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

“It’s quite serious,” she said. “Some people are not bothered because they do everything online but for some of us it’s quite important.”

Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said the problems were having “a serious knock-on impact on people getting important NHS correspondence, both about their vaccination and also other routine appointments”.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “I have been told locally that Royal Mail are prioritising the delivery of parcels to get the backlog down, but I wonder if there is a way for NHS correspondence to be clearly labelled as such and prioritised for delivery.

Read more: England's seven COVID mass vaccination centres welcome first patients

“No one wants to see a situation where people are missing their vaccination appointments.”

When Streeting raised the issue on Twitter on Monday, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said the government will work with Royal Mail to make sure people are notified of their vaccination appointments.

The issue has prompted calls, including from MPs and the Communication Workers Union (CWU), for postal workers to be added to the priority list of people receiving coronavirus vaccinations.

In a statement, Royal Mail said: “The combination of greatly increased uptake of online shopping, and the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, mean that all delivery companies are experiencing exceptionally high volumes.

“Every single parcel and letter is important to us. Despite our best efforts and significant investment in extra resource, some customers may experience slightly longer delivery timescales than our usual service standards.

Read more: Friends who met for walk have £200 COVID lockdown fines rescinded

“This is due to the exceptionally high volumes we are seeing, exacerbated by the coronavirus-related measures we have put in place in local mail centres and delivery offices to keep our people and customers safe. In such cases, we always work hard to get back to providing our usual level of service as quickly as we can.”

It advised the people in the affected regions who have been left a “Something for you” card from the service to check its website to learn revised opening hours for when they can collect the item.

File photo dated 20/01/15 of the logo for Royal Mail. Royal Mail has announced that around 33,000 temporary jobs will be available this year over the Christmas period - over 10,000 more than its usual seasonal average.
Royal Mail has said 28 areas are suffering limited deliveries because of coronavirus. (PA)

“If we’ve not left a ‘Something for you card’, and you do not have alternative arrangements in place, we’re sorry that your mail will not be available for collection,” the advice says.

Royal Mail’s 28 areas suffering limited delivery:

Ashford (TN23-TN27)

Barnsley (S70, S71, S72 and S75)

Basildon (SS13-SS16)

Bow (E3)

Bury St Edmunds (IP28-IP33)

Chelmsford (CM1-CM3)

Christchurch (BH23)

Daventry (NN11)

Debden (IG7-IG10)

Enfield (EN1-EN3)

Grays (RM16-RM20)

Hampton (TW12)

Highbury (N5)

Hornsey (N8)

Horsham (RH12, RH13)

Ilford (IG1-IG6)

Leeds City (LS1-LS5)

Lewisham (SE13)

Magherafelt (BT45, BT46)

Margate (CT7-CT9)

Rugeley (WS15)

Somerton (TA11)

South Ockendon (RM15)

South Woodford (E18)

Upper Holloway (N7)

Wandsworth (SW18)

Wellington (TA21)

Widnes (WA8)

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's lockdown