Royal Mail To Change Post Box Collection Time
The collection time at almost 50,000 Royal Mail post boxes will be brought forward to earlier in the day under new plans.
Staff delivering letters are expected to make the pick-ups as part of their rounds.
Some 47,500 post boxes will see collection times as early as 9am, instead of the usual 5pm.
Royal Mail, which was privatised last year, said it will also add around 2,000 new boxes in under-serviced areas such as rural Scotland and Northern Ireland.
New boxes would also be fitted in areas of high pedestrian traffic, including train stations and shopping precincts.
It currently has some 115,000 post boxes around the nation.
The company said where new collection times are imposed, generally between 9am and 3pm, there will still be a late posting box within half a mile.
About 12,000 rural post boxes are already emptied during delivery rounds but the new plan would primarily affect urban and suburban locations.
The new system is designed to improve efficiency, amid a decade-long decline in stamped mail use.
The company said: "Rather than decommission uneconomic post boxes, while staying within the regulated density requirement, Royal Mail will ensure their viability by improving the efficiency of its collections arrangements."
It said consultations have been undertaken with consumer groups and regulator Ofcom has been informed.
An Ofcom spokeswoman said: "Ofcom recognises the need for Royal Mail to become more efficient so it can sustain a universal postal service that consumers value highly.
"While the changes won't affect the majority of postal users, Ofcom expects Royal Mail to communicate clearly with any affected consumers and ensure that their reasonable needs continue to be met."