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Royal Mail reveals plans for 50 new postal drone routes

The firm says it aims to eventually use 500 drones to service all corners of the UK, with its boss saying it will also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Thursday 12 May 2022 07:04, UK

Royal Mail is aiming to use up to 200 drones over the next three years as it creates 50 new "postal drone routes".

They will help provide faster and more reliable services to remote communities - with the Hebrides, the Isles of Scilly, the Shetlands, and the Orkney Islands first in line.

Deliveries to these areas use ferries, regular aircraft and land transport but can be hampered by bad weather.

The drones will also help cut carbon emissions, according to Royal Mail.

Four trials have been going on over the last 18 months to areas including the Isle of Mull in Scotland and the Isles of Scilly, off Cornwall.

Test flights for the new service have also covered a near 100-mile round trip between Lerwick on Shetland and Unst in the north of the islands.

They've carried up to 100kg on two daily flights and when they land the post is distributed to the local delivery person to drop off as usual.

The 50 new services are subject to Civil Aviation Authority approval and are in partnership with drone firm Windracers.

Royal Mail said it was hoping to eventually increase to 500 drones covering all areas of the country.

Its boss, Simon Thompson, said "One time delivery regardless of our costumers' location or the weather, whilst protecting our environment, is our goal.

"Even though we go everywhere, Royal Mail already has the lowest CO2 emissions per parcel delivered. This initiative will help reduce our emissions even further."

In 2019, Amazon said it was months away from using drones to deliver parcels but the service has so far not materialised and still appears to be in development.

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