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UK's first postal drone service now operational

Mail delivery by drones: A milestone for Scotland

Source: Euronews

The UK launches its first permanent postal drone delivery service on the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland.

Orkney off the coast of Scotland will have its mail delivered by drone from Tuesday after the UK's first permanent postal drone delivery service was launched for the island.

Mail will be transported from Royal Mail's Kirkwall delivery office to Stromness, where the drone deliveries will transport items to staff on Graemsay and Hoy to allow postal workers to carry out their usual island delivery routes.

"Anything that helps to maintain the universal service, especially in areas of the isles which are more difficult to reach, is something that we should give a chance to support," Alistair Carmichael, the MP for Orkney and Shetland, said in a statement.

"Royal Mail remains a critical part of keeping the isles connected - and local knowledge and care are vital to that network."

According to a statement from the Royal Mail, the drone service is expected to significantly improve service levels and delivery times to Graemsay and Hoy, as weather and geography can disrupt delivery services.

While the service will initially operate for three months, it could be continued permanently under existing regulatory frameworks due to Orkney's unique landscape and the proximity of the islands to one another.

The Royal Mail said the use of electric drones for inter-island delivery will bring significant safety improvements by ensuring postal workers can deliver between ports without risk.

The world's first operational drone delivery service was launched in Reykjavik in 2017, with shoppers in the Icelandic capital able to receive food and other goods direct to their doors via an autonomous flying vehicle, which providers say will significantly speed up delivery times.

In 2022, pharmacy retailer Boots has become the first community pharmacy in the UK to deliver prescription medicines by drone, shipping medicines from Thorney Island, near Portsmouth, to the Isle of Wight.

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