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"Petitioning Royal Mail" Topic

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Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP20 Nov 2013 9:15 p.m. PST

What is this?
Due to recent changes in their shipping restrictions, Royal Mail will no longer ship more than 4 pots of water-based paint per package, with each pot having a maximum volume of 150ml. Packages which breach this policy are identified by x-ray and then sent away to be destroyed. Repeat offenders will then be prosecuted.

Who does this affect?
There are a lot of people in the UK sending or receiving paints, whether for hobby or professional use, and policies like this are also restricting a variety of small businesses. Thousands of people order water-based paints every week, and we hope to gain enough support for Royal Mail to consider changing the restrictions on these items.

Why are these paints restricted?
We have spoken with various people about this, from Royal Mail themselves, through to the Department of Transport and the Dangerous Goods Office, and so far we have not been given a definitive reason as to why these restrictions exist. The Royal Mail allows shipping of alcohol of up to 1 litre in volume, even in glass bottles, yet five small pots of paint, less than 100ml total, would be against the restrictions. We are currently awaiting a reply from the Royal Mail Policy Team with more information on the restrictions, and whether a change is possible.

Should these paints be restricted?
We have provided Royal Mail with Material Safety Data Sheets from some of the more well-known manufacturers of paint, which show that these items are perfectly safe to ship. We will continue to collect evidence of this type and forward it to Royal Mail.

What is the aim of this petition?
Our initial aim is for a change to the policy to allow a larger volume of water-based paints to be sent in one package, a change to match the 1 litre maximum on alcohol would be ideal. Even an increase to 600ml total would be a great start. Many small businesses in the UK are having a very hard time at the moment, and lifting these restrictions would be a welcome boost to a lot of people.

What can I do?
First and foremost, we need people to register their support by joining the petition on If you buy paints on a regular basis, please mention how many paints/occasions you are buying per year on average, as this will help us show the volumes of business RM is potentially missing out on.

If you are a manufacturer or seller of paints, please mention your company name as well.

Finally, please spread the word about this. We need to get the message out as far and wide as possible, so that we can gain enough support to make a difference. Please post it on any forums you frequent and any blogs you write, on your Facebook or your Twitter. The more coverage we can get, the more chance we've got of making a change, and then we can all get back to some painting!

Thanks for reading, your support is really appreciated.

Mako1120 Nov 2013 10:23 p.m. PST

I suspect it is related to the terrorists, and their potential use of liquid explosives on planes.

However, they seem to make a lot of exceptions for air cargo shipments of items which to me could be a lot more hazardouse, so I think it is an over-reaction, especially if the shipments are being sent by recognized companies, internationally.

I wish you luck, since I would hate to see the White Ensign paints become inaccessible, on this side of the pond.

Fire at Will20 Nov 2013 11:11 p.m. PST


Temporary like Achilles20 Nov 2013 11:41 p.m. PST

Done, except it doesn't seem to want to process mine!

Gaz004520 Nov 2013 11:51 p.m. PST


bc174520 Nov 2013 11:56 p.m. PST


LeonAdler Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 12:21 a.m. PST

Wish I could give the idiot who thought this rule up the cold I have…………done.

Angel Barracks21 Nov 2013 1:00 a.m. PST

Signed and shared on forums, Facebook, twitter etc…

MajorB21 Nov 2013 3:02 a.m. PST

Due to recent changes in their shipping restrictions,

Apparently this regulation has been stated by Royal Mail since at least January 2013.

Black Hat Miniatures21 Nov 2013 3:14 a.m. PST

It came into force in January 2013 for Account customers and in July 2013 for everyone else.

But, it was not publicised at all – none of the Royal Mail leaflets mention it – it is only in their online terms and conditions.

I print all my own stamps and drop the parcels so I don't know if it is on the card the Post Offices use now?

The first I knew of it was when Leon had a problem with a package.


arthur181521 Nov 2013 3:15 a.m. PST


Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 3:24 a.m. PST

Duly petitioned… if they don't rethink this, I should imagine that a lot of postal traffic is going to shift to other mailing firms.

slugbalancer21 Nov 2013 3:44 a.m. PST


Pete Melvin21 Nov 2013 4:13 a.m. PST

Duly petitioned… if they don't rethink this, I should imagine that a lot of postal traffic is going to shift to other mailing firms.

Wish there was another option. Shipping by courior is ridiculuosly expensive however. I agree they need a SERIOUS re-think. 1L of alcohol but not 601mL of paint?! Morons.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 4:20 a.m. PST

Looking at the regs, I bet they decided they needed it for international, and decided that it was easier to tick the box applying it to the UK, too, rather than apply separate rules. Very shortsighted…

Huscarle21 Nov 2013 4:26 a.m. PST

Duly signed. Hope it has some effect?

JimDuncanUK21 Nov 2013 4:51 a.m. PST


Munster21 Nov 2013 4:59 a.m. PST

Don't forget to write a real letter to your member of parliament. if they get enough of them they start to react.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away21 Nov 2013 5:12 a.m. PST

Done. Writing to an MP would probably work best if everyone wrote to Pendraken's local MP asking them what they plan to do to help a thriving local business. If we all wrote to our own MPs the effort might be a bit diffuse.

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 5:48 a.m. PST

…maybe write to the Chief Executive of Royal Mail, Moya Greene ?

morrigan21 Nov 2013 5:48 a.m. PST


Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 6:00 a.m. PST


Gaz004521 Nov 2013 7:08 a.m. PST

So if you ordered from abroad , they can ship to the UK without a problem, but it is against the rules for this to be shipped from Blighty…?

I'll stock up when I 'm next back as the paint is still pricey over here…….hold luggage of course – can't take liquids in hand baggage………..

daoloth21 Nov 2013 7:14 a.m. PST

Signed as well.

BoomBoomBoom21 Nov 2013 8:23 a.m. PST


Tony5821 Nov 2013 8:27 a.m. PST

Signed it!

Zargon21 Nov 2013 8:32 a.m. PST

Not working on my BB sorry.

Jon Sutherland21 Nov 2013 8:56 a.m. PST

Signed and widely shared, my email account is full of notifications that people have signed since I posted the petition link.

Ben Waterhouse21 Nov 2013 9:00 a.m. PST


Fat Wally21 Nov 2013 10:55 a.m. PST


Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 11:06 a.m. PST

Thanks for all the support so far, nearly 900 supporters already, great response in only 12 hours or so!

DHautpol21 Nov 2013 11:14 a.m. PST

The main problem seems to be that this is beyond Royal Mail's hands.

Royal Mail is simply implementing a government Regulation, it giving effect to IATA and EU directives. A quick trawl of the internet reveals similar sets of instructions by DHL and UPS.

Complaints might be better directed to the Department of Transport, which was the sponsoring department.

MajorB21 Nov 2013 11:57 a.m. PST

Royal Mail is simply implementing a government Regulation, it giving effect to IATA and EU directives.

Are we sure that is true? I cannot find any specific reference to paint in the IATA regulations. In fact I found this statement from an acrylic paint manufacturer:

"are water based acrylic paints and mediums which are not "Dangerous Goods" as classified in the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations"
PDF link

A quick trawl of the internet reveals similar sets of instructions by DHL and UPS.

Could you show us where this is stated?

MajorB21 Nov 2013 12:05 p.m. PST

This company DGI, specialises in shipping Dangerous Goods around the world. They list 9 classes of dangerous goods here:

Paints are included in Flammable Liquids and Corrosives. Water based acrylic paint is neither flammable nor corrosive!

richarDISNEY21 Nov 2013 12:06 p.m. PST

This makes no sense…

Can non-UK residents sign too?

ancientsgamer Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 12:09 p.m. PST

Signed and I agree with the major. I wonder if they aren't confusing enamels and spray paint volatility with acrylics?

Unrepentant Werewolf 221 Nov 2013 12:31 p.m. PST


Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2013 12:39 p.m. PST

@ DHautpol: The DoT was one of my first ports of call, as Royal Mail originally said that they were responsible for the restrictions. However, the DoT couldn't tell me why water-based paints would be included, and recommended I call the Dangerous Goods Office. The helpful chap there advised me that water-based paints are in no way dangerous goods, as evidenced by Section 14 of their Material Safety Data Sheets.

I then went back to Royal Mail with this information, and they moved my query up the chain to the Policy Team. As yet, no one has come back to me with anymore information as to why they have restricted these items.

Sparker21 Nov 2013 5:05 p.m. PST

Can non-UK residents sign too

Well I have. Only cos I was told to by a Royal Marine – I don't like hospital food…

deephorse21 Nov 2013 5:30 p.m. PST


Black Hat Miniatures22 Nov 2013 4:03 a.m. PST

It particularly affects non-uk people as there is no cheap alternative to shipping paints overseas. Europe starts at about £18.00 GBP and the Rest of The world at £30.00 GBP


Hobhood422 Nov 2013 6:20 a.m. PST

And me.

Guthroth22 Nov 2013 6:40 a.m. PST

I'm signed up

Major Tom22 Nov 2013 7:15 a.m. PST


Post Office blatantly taking the Bleeped text again.

quackstheking22 Nov 2013 7:23 a.m. PST

Technically it is the Royal mail – the Post Office is a completely separate company responsible for the High Street shops.


Major Tom22 Nov 2013 12:12 p.m. PST

Quite right, Don. I still tend to think of them as one and the same.

To make amends to the Post Office I have signed this petition to save Hastings Post Office from closure.


St Anselm23 Nov 2013 4:06 a.m. PST


Old Guy26 Nov 2013 5:40 a.m. PST

OK, where to start.

I own a Post Office, I have Restricted and Dangerous Goods posters on my counter, I have the regulations, I have completed several tests on the subject, I have had follow up phonecalls, I have probably even had the 'mystery' shopper. And in my old life I also once completed a course on IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Nowhere in my instructions does it mention water soluble paint is a restricted or dangerous good, in fact it isn't mentioned at all, and believe me, this is the flavour of the month with Royal Mail at the moment. All that is mentioned is Solvent Based paints and Varnishes.

On seeing this post I phoned my Royal Mail Helpline for Subpostmasters and asked the question, I was told there are no restrictions on water based paints.

I have never seen that little icon, and I am not sure what went on with the original complaint, but if you tell me where you got that info and give me some more details I could try and get to the bottom of it.

I should also like to point out at this stage I am no lover of Royal Mail or Post Office Ltd. Just count yourself lucky you do not work for/with them.

Gwydion26 Nov 2013 7:16 a.m. PST

Old Guy
The restriction is on the Royal Mail 'personal help and support' sheet and can be found on their web site here:
at the bottom of that page.
This is for personal customers
It is exactly the same for business customers:
again at the bottom of the page.

Old Guy26 Nov 2013 8:03 a.m. PST

Well that contradicts the information given to me as a SubPostmaster.

Now that actually does not surprise me as it takes them at least two attempts to get any literature they send me correct.

I shall call my Helpline again and ask for clarification on what is correct, but as there are two versions I doubt anyone will actually own up to which is correct, but we will see.

I certainly would post any amount of water based paints from my office, but of course that really doesn't help.

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