‘Next-door’ drop-offs for deliveries

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The postal regulator is to consult on allowing the Royal Mail to expand a scheme under which post is left with a neighbour if no-one is at home.

Ofcom said the move could offer consumers greater choice for receiving mail if they were not in.

The Royal Mail has held a number of trials across the UK, which it said had been a success, with nine out of 10 consumers expressing satisfaction.

Ofcom said it was minded to give Royal Mail greater commercial freedom, pointing out that the company is the only UK postal organisation not allowed to deliver to a neighbour.

The move would avoid larger items of post or packets which needed to be signed for having to be returned to a Royal Mail office to await collection.

The consultation will close on August 24.

Fewer letters are being sent in the age of emails but parcel volumes are rising as people turn to online shopping.