Anger as 'muddy and slippery path' halts mail deliveries

Residents of two rural villages near Swansea say they are furious at having to temporarily collect their own post - after a health and safety manager ruled a country lane is too muddy for deliveries.

Following a complaint by a postman about the 'muddy and slippery' path, Royal Mail officials say the winter rain has made it too boggy to carry postbags to Owensfield and Holtsfield.

Locals from the chalet communities are currently having to travel several miles each day to collect their letters and parcels from the nearest depot.

Villager Ray Laurence, 63, said: "It is crazy that a bit of rain can stop the Royal Mail.

"It does get muddy in the winter but it’s no muddier now than in other winters.

"Delivery drivers from other companies had no trouble dropping off parcels before Christmas and our regular postman knows the route well but this was a complaint from a relief postman."

Mr Laurence, of Holtsfield, is leading a campaign with fellow villagers in Owensfield to reverse the decision.

Neighbour Dai Morris, 64, said: "I walk along the lanes every day and it is absolutely fine with a pair of wellies.

"Some people would rather see all the fields covered in concrete and tarmac rather than get a bit muddy.

"There's nothing more natural in the British winter."

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: "We would like to apologise to our customers for the current inconvenience in relation to mail deliveries in the Holtsfield and Owensfield areas of Mumbles.

"Customers are temporarily collecting their mail from Mumbles Delivery Office.

"We suspended deliveries to around 30 addresses in Holtsfield, Mumbles, after conducting a risk assessment of the delivery route. This followed concerns raised by the postman that the route to the properties was extremely muddy and slippery following recent exceptionally wet weather.

"Deliveries to a further 25 addresses in Owensfield, Mumbles, were suspended following a site visit by a senior health and safety manager after the postman reported problems walking along a muddy woodland path. There was an additional concern reported about dogs roaming the area.

"We will resume deliveries to both routes once a full risk assessment has been completed and the areas deemed safe for our postmen and women to deliver.

"Royal Mail delivers to almost 29 million addresses across the UK and our postmen and women go out in all weather conditions including wind, rain, snow and ice, so it is always a last resort if we decide not to deliver to a specific address or addresses.

"The safety of our colleagues is paramount. We will only suspend deliveries if the safety of our postmen and women is at risk."