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"Petitioning Royal Mail" Topic

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Gwydion26 Nov 2013 8:02 a.m. PST

Weird isn't it?
They sent me an email notification some time ago (I don't sell paints) but it took me ages to find the relevant pages on the site. There are several other more obvious sheets of prohibited and restricted goods which don't mention this restriction. Having had it specifically brought to my attention by RM however I am presuming this is intended to be the definitive position.
Goodness knows why.

eptingmike26 Nov 2013 9:05 a.m. PST


Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP27 Nov 2013 6:38 p.m. PST

Update – 27th November

The petition has been discussed during a conference call at Royal Mail today, so at least we've got their attention! Unfortunately, at this stage, they have decided that there will be no changes made to the restrictions.

We have also now been given a reason for the restrictions, which is that it's to 'safeguard the rest of the mail in the system from potential damage'. Now this is perfectly understandable, but there is still no reply on how 5 x 17ml pots of paint can cause more damage than 4 x 150ml pots? Or how 1 litre of whiskey in a glass bottle is seen as an allowable risk, yet a 200ml pot of acrylic paint isn't?!

So, we have some answers, but still no real progress on these illogical restrictions, and the potential to amend them.

What's the next stage?

Basically, we need numbers! Despite gaining almost 2,500 signatures in less than a week, we're obviously not registering strongly enough on their radar, so we need to really push the petition out there and gain more support.

So, we're asking everyone who has signed so far to please help us spread the word. Post this on your Facebook walls, on your Twitter feeds, on your blogs, your forums and your websites. Even Tweet some politically inclined celebrities if you like! We're working hard at this end to get some national coverage in hobby magazines and national newspapers, so there's a lot more to come!

We have also set up a new Facebook page, so that we can provide regular updates, and also answer any questions people may have:

Many thanks for your support so far.


Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Dec 2013 12:42 p.m. PST

Update – 9th December

As we mentioned previously, Royal Mail have changed the reasoning for these restrictions from 'Dangerous Goods' to 'potential damage to other mail', so we have now sent them a list of questions as a result:

"As a follow-up to our recent discussions on water-based paints, and the restrictions on them in your guidelines, I have a few more questions:-

1. In our original discussions, the reason given for Parcel Force being able to ship these items was due to them having a Dangerous Goods license. Now that we have determined that these items are not in fact 'Dangerous Goods', what is the new reason for Parcel Force being able to ship these paints, and how are they overcoming the same 'potential damage to other mail' reasoning which worries Royal Mail?

2. Do you have any statistics which show the frequency of breakages/leakages in the mail, and more specifically, how many of these are caused by water-based paints?

3. The restrictions allow the shipping of upto 1 litre of alcohol, does this not pose a greater risk of leakage / breakage than 4 small pots of paint, even more so when the alcohol is likely to be shipped in a single glass container?

Many thanks,

Leon Pengilley"

We will now have to wait and see what they reply with before proceeding.

In the meantime though, we still need to grow the support, and get this noticed on a national scale by the mainstream media. To do this, we're asking you to help out by doing two things:

1. Write to your local MP, using the template which can be found on our new Facebook page here: (modify it to suit if you wish). A full list of UK MP's listed by their consituency can be found here: If you get a response, please let us know on the Facebook page, or here.

2. Write to any local newspapers or other media in your area to bring this to their attention as well. The MP letter template linked above can be used for this as well, with only minor modification.

Also, please head over and join our Facebook page, which allows us to keep everyone up to date with the latest news and discussions as we move forward with this. You can also update here as you get responses from your local MP's / media.

Thanks for reading, and again, thank you for your support. Please pass this update around your friends, forums and Facebooks, and we'll keep pushing to get these restrictions changed!

PS, I hope everyone has a merry Christmas as well, there might not be many paints under your tree, but I hope there's something good in their place…!


Losing the Will11 Dec 2013 8:16 a.m. PST

This is definitely a lesson to everyone to keep abreast of all the rules pertaining to their business!
Whilst it is a stupid rule and I have signed the petition it has been known that it was coming for nearly a year and was published in the Royal Mails Rules back in July.
I hope it can be changed but I suspect we'll have to look for alternative means of getting paints such as buying in bulk and using couriers.

Knockman17 Dec 2013 5:13 a.m. PST


Duly signed the petition and shared on my personal FB.

May I ask whether you have submitted those questions to the RM under a 'Freedom Of Information' request? I'm not sure whether the same FoI rules still apply since privatisation, but it could be worth a try if you haven't already.

And in the meantime I'll research other offical routes and approaches too.

Old Guy18 Dec 2013 5:33 a.m. PST

On the case, get your MP involved.

Thank you for contacting me about the Royal Mail restrictions on the shipping of water-based paints. This was not a matter about which I had any knowledge, and so am glad you have brought it to my attention.

I have forwarded your concerns to Jo Swinson MP at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Minister with responsibility for Royal Mail and Postal Affairs to see if she can raise it with the appropriate parties.

I thank you again for taking the time to contact me, and of course if I receive any other communication as a result of my correspondence with the Minister, I will contact you again.

Yours sincerely

David Morris MP
Morecambe and Lunesdale

Deedles18 Dec 2013 6:35 a.m. PST

Written to my MP this morning

Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Dec 2013 2:13 p.m. PST

Thanks for the updates, much appreciated.

@Knockman: In my latest conversation with RM, they've claimed that they keep no statistics whatsoever for breakages/leakages, which seems strange. That also then leads to the question 'How can you then decide that one fluid is more potentially damaging than another?', but they couldn't answer that one at all, simply saying that it was a decision made on a 'business level'. No one has come back to me since then, and they've gone on Xmas holiday now.

@Old Guy: Excellent, good to see an MP supporting the campaign, we've only had responses from 2-3 MP's that I know about unfortunately.

@Deedles: Thanks for that, I hope you get a response.

sumerandakkad22 Dec 2013 9:19 a.m. PST

I work for a well known store in the ecom warehouse and we are now labelling goods with stickers because of this rule. I signed the petition a week or so ago. It sounds like overkill.

Knockman22 Dec 2013 11:27 p.m. PST

@Leon, many thanks for the reply, and frankly, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you find that a bit disappointing. And I'm here in my office at 7am as I type this, still with my work commitments to sort out, but I guess at least now I know I won't be getting any answers myself from RM either.

'Decisions made at business level' sounds like a typical fobbing off to be honest. If you don't mind, I'd be happy to contact them myself to attempt to crowbar an answer out of there reticence.

What would add more weight to fighting this is to demonstrate any adverse impact on UK business, especially the Small/Medium Enterprise retailers. It may well turn out useful if someone 'in-house' i.e., a trader themselves, contacted and shared this with other traders, and collated responses and replies from them that then showed a loss in business orders, and any comparisons to previous year's orders.

Leon Pendraken Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Dec 2013 7:30 a.m. PST

@Knockman: Thanks for the reply, I've chatted with a lot of the other traders who sell paints, and a lot of them have reported a downturn in sales since this happened. We'll be contacting the FSB in the new year as well, to see if they can help us out.

If you want to contact RM as well, that would be excellent. There have been a lot of people emailing / phoning them about this, so you may end up getting the same answers as us, but at least it keeps the campaign visible to them and shows them the number of people they are affecting.

Knockman24 Dec 2013 5:26 a.m. PST

@Leon: it will be my pleasure, I shall draft a letter to Jo Swinson MP and the BIS contact person to ask them to explain the reasoning behind this, and to also request sight of any business impact assessment that should have been done for such an important change in postal freight criteria.

MP for East Dunbartonshire too there's a few model shops, toy stores, hobby shops and clubs there too, including railway enthusiasts and not a great electoral majority either. Never overlook the effect constituents can have on legislation.

Have a great festive break and all the best for the New Year ahead.

Deedles10 Jan 2014 7:54 a.m. PST

Response received from my MP Tom Blenkinsop , who has contacted the Chief Exec of Royal Mail , further response expected .

Deedles21 Jan 2014 2:06 p.m. PST

MP has written to CEO of Royal Mail , reply copied to me , to be reviewed in February SMT meeting, I shall ask him to ensure a reply of outcome

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