The views expressed in this page do not represent those of the Planning Inspectorate. This page consists of content submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the public and other interested parties, giving their views of this proposal.

A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet Road Improvement scheme

Received 10 June 2021
From BNP Paribas Real Estate on behalf of Royal Mail Group


Royal Mail does not have an in principle objection to this proposed road scheme but is seeking to secure mitigations to protect its road based operations during the construction phase. Under section 35 of the Postal Services Act 2011 (the “Act”), Royal Mail has been designated by Ofcom as a provider of the Universal Postal Service. Royal Mail is the only such provider in the United Kingdom. The Act provides that Ofcom’s primary regulatory duty is to secure the provision of the Universal Postal Service. Ofcom discharges this duty by imposing regulatory conditions on Royal Mail, requiring it to provide the Universal Postal Service. The Act includes a set of minimum standards for Universal Service Providers, which Ofcom must secure. The conditions imposed by Ofcom reflect those standards. Royal Mail is under some of the highest specification performance obligations for quality of service in Europe. Its performance of the Universal Service Provider obligations is in the public interest and should not be affected detrimentally by any statutorily authorised project. Royal Mail’s postal sorting and delivery operations rely heavily on road communications. Royal Mail’s ability to provide efficient mail collection, sorting and delivery to the public is sensitive to changes in the capacity of the highway network. Royal Mail is a major road user nationally. Disruption to the highway network and traffic delays can have direct consequences on Royal Mail’s operations, its ability to meet the Universal Service Obligation and comply with the regulatory regime for postal services thereby presenting a significant risk to Royal Mail’s business. Royal Mail has four Delivery Offices within 10 miles of this road scheme at Sandy, St Neots, St Ives and Huntingdon. The scheme has potential to present risk of construction phase impact / delays to Royal Mail’s road based operations on the surrounding road network. Every day, in exercising its statutory duties Royal Mail vehicles use all the main roads that may be impacted by any additional traffic arising / delays during construction of this scheme. Any periods of road disruption / closure, night or day, have the potential to impact operations. Royal Mail does not wish to stop or delay this scheme from being constructed. However, Royal Mail does wish to ensure the protection of its future ability to provide an efficient mail sorting and delivering service. In order to do this, Royal Mail requests that: 1. the DCO includes specific requirements that during the construction phase Royal Mail is consulted by Highways England or its contractors at least one month in advance on any proposed road closures / diversions / alternative access arrangements, hours of working, and on the content of the final CTMP, and 2. the final CTMP includes a mechanism to inform major road users (including Royal Mail) about works affecting the local highways network (with particular regard to Royal Mail’s distribution facilities near the DCO application boundary as identified above). Royal Mail reserves its position to object to the DCO application if the above requests are not adequately addressed.