- Moya GreeneCEO, Royal Mail
Lift the restrictions on shipping water-based paints.
What is this?
Due to changes in their shipping restrictions made in 2013, Royal Mail will no longer ship more than 4 pots of water-based paint per package, with each pot having a maximum volume of 150ml. Packages which breach this policy are identified by x-ray and then sent away to be destroyed. Repeat offenders will then be prosecuted.
Who does this affect?
There are a lot of people in the UK sending or receiving paints, whether for hobby or professional use, and policies like this are also restricting a variety of small businesses. Thousands of people order water-based paints every week, and we hope to gain enough support for Royal Mail to consider changing the restrictions on these items.
Why are these paints restricted?
We have spoken with various people about this, from Royal Mail themselves, through to the Department for Transport and the Dangerous Goods Department, and at first Royal Mail could not give us a definitive reason for the restriction. The Royal Mail allows shipping of alcohol of up to 1 litre in volume, even in glass bottles, yet five small pots of paint, less than 100ml total, would be against the restrictions. On November 27th, we were told that the reason was due to 'potential damage to other mail' and that no changes to these restrictions were planned.
Since then, we have been trying consistently to get some answers as to why these paints are restricted, but as yet, no one has been able to provide any information at all.
Should these paints be restricted?
We have provided Royal Mail with Material Safety Data Sheets from some of the more well-known manufacturers of paint, which show that these items are perfectly safe to ship. We will continue to collect evidence of this type and forward it to Royal Mail. Since they have given us the 'damage to other mail' reason, we are now trying to get some statistics from RM to show how often this happens.
What is the aim of this petition?
Our initial aim is for a change to the policy to allow a larger volume of water-based paints to be sent in one package, a change to match the 1 litre maximum on alcohol would be ideal, but an increase to a 600ml total would be a great start. Many small businesses in the UK are having a very hard time at the moment, and lifting these restrictions would be a welcome boost to a lot of people.
What can I do?
First and foremost, we need people to register their support by joining this petition. If you buy paints on a regular basis, please mention how many paints/occasions you are buying per year on average, as this will help us show the volumes of business RM is potentially missing out on.
If you are a manufacturer or seller of paints, please mention your company name as well.
Finally, please spread the word about this. We need to get the message out as far and wide as possible, so that we can gain enough support to make a difference. Please post it on any forums you frequent and any blogs you write, on your Facebook or your Twitter. The more coverage we can get, the more chance we've got of making a change, and then we can all get back to some painting!
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?!
Update - 5th March
Royal Mail held another senior meeting to discuss the policy in late-February, but unfortunately it was decided that once again, no changes would be made to the policy. We are still awaiting answers to the questions we have asked, but no one has been able to do that yet.
Update 28th April
After having no success with the Dangerous Goods Department of Royal Mail, we have contacted several other departments in an attempt to get some answers. We will also be approaching our MEP's now, as this restriction is affecting the sale of paints across the EU.
Update 14th January 2014!
It's been a while since our last update, but the work has continued behind the scenes and I am delighted to announce that we have received the following email today from Mr Gee, Chairman of Royal Mail:
"We have lifted the four item restriction. Customers can now send an unlimited number in any one package but the volume of each container should still not exceed 150ml.
The items must be securely closed and placed in a leak-proof liner, such as a sealed polythene bag, so that any inadvertent leakage is contained within the outer packaging. Surround with absorbent material such as newspaper and sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from damage. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
The changes went live on 12 January 2015. I trust this will be a welcome decision for you."
This is fantastic news and we are so pleased that we're able to announce this result.
We would once again like to thank everyone who has signed and supported this campaign in any way. It's been a long 14 months of discussion and emails back and forth, but it's been worth it!
We would also like to encourage everyone to go and buy some paint from their vendor of choice! There are a load of fantastic businesses in the UK supporting our hobby and this is a big win for all of them.
Many thanks for all of your support!
Now that the restrictions have been changed, this petition has been closed by Change.org. Any discussions are best continued over on our Facebook page so please head over and join us there: https://www.facebook.com/PostOurPaint
- CEO, Royal Mail
Please consider lifting the restrictions on shipping water-based paints to allow more than 4 pots per package. The restriction is illogical, especially considering that other fluids can be sent in much bigger quantities.
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