Unwanted Royal Mail posties’ bikes from Norfolk shipped to Africa
Hundreds of posties' redundant bikes from the region are being shipped to Africa for recycling.
Postmen and women across the country are switching from bikes to vans and 'high-capacity trolleys' to deliver mail, meaning that the traditional sight of a cycling postie on his or her rounds is becoming a rarity.
The changes are under way in large sections of north Norfolk this spring and summer, affecting addresses in the NR10, NR11, NR12 and NR28 postcode areas, adding yet more bikes to the 'unwanted' pile.
Valerie Antoine, Royal Mail spokesman, said that over the past 18 months more than 300 redundant postal-delivery bikes from the Anglia region had been donated to Africa where they were either reused, or dismantled for spare parts.
Ms Antoine said the move was part of the company's corporate responsibility policy: 'If there are people who can make use of them, we would like to do our bit.'
She added: 'Decisions are being made taking into account local circumstances. We are not getting rid of all bicycles as they will remain part of our delivery operation nationally.'
The age of the internet and email means customers now post fewer letters and more parcels and packets.
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Ms Antoine said the switch from bikes meant staff were at less risk of injury from carrying heavier mail bags.
The move, supported by the Communication Workers Union, also helped reduce cycling accidents involving Royal Mail staff.
Meanwhile North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) is talking to Royal Mail about the growing number of its vehicles which are daily taking up slots in one of North Walsham's public car parks following the closure in March of the Aylsham delivery office.
Staff now sort Aylsham's mail in North Walsham and the vans travel the 16-mile round trip between the two towns, taking sorted mail for delivery in Aylsham and returning to collect more from North Walsham.
Royal Mail bought eight long-stay permits, costing �200pa, two months ago and a further five last week, according to an NNDC spokesman. They are using them to park vans in the 77-space New Road car park which is close to the North Walsham delivery office.
The NNDC spokesman said that the permits had been 'responsibly purchased' but he added: 'However, it is the number of vehicles involved which has highlighted the issue of what is essentially a public car park being used on a regular basis for business purposes, and this is the subject of discussion.'
Ms Antoine said the impact on the environment of the extra vehicle journeys was offset by the closure of the Aylsham office, saving heating. lighting and other energy-using overheads.