Authorities in Northern Ireland have formally adopted a Joint Policy Statement covering the required treatment of post boxes in the region.

Post Box Policy For Northern Ireland

The document is similar to the one published for England with substantial contributions from the Letter Box Study Group. The Northern Irish version has a bright and fresh layout which does much to highlight both the broad heritage agenda and more detailed factual information.

The signatories are Royal Mail and the government Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division. A notice was published on the DFC website on 9 October 2020.

It reads: “The Department for Communities Historic Environment Division (DfC HED) and Royal Mail have decided to agree a joint policy for the retention and conservation of post boxes which may be of special architectural or historic interest and merit listing.

Many post boxes are now regarded as ‘undesignated heritage assets’ and a small number of the oldest and rarest have been listed as structures of special architectural and historic interest.

The Government’s Strategic Planning Policy Statement for Northern Ireland, stresses the desirability of retaining undesignated heritage assets where appropriate.

The intention of this document is to move towards managing undesignated heritage assets by agreement between Royal Mail and DFC Historic Environment Division. This document sets out how Royal Mail and the Department intend to do this.”

The English equivalent was last renewed on 15 July 2015. The accompanying notice read: “Traditional red post boxes are a valued part of the local scene. They are street furniture which are both a useful local amenity and a reassuring sight.

On 15 July 2015 Historic England and Royal Mail published a renewed statement of their joint commitment to finding the best ways to ensure that post boxes are retained and well cared for wherever possible.

This document contains Royal Mail’s policy commitment to retain all post boxes in operational service in their existing positions (unless circumstances or operational need mean that they have to be relocated or removed). It also sets out Royal Mail’s standards for the repair, refurbishment and repainting of post boxes to retain them in good order, following traditional painting schemes. Historic England, for their part, sets out how the listing of post boxes has been handled in the past and will be in future.

The rarest and oldest examples have already been recognised by listing, and if the Royal Mail policy of retention is followed, it is unlikely that many further post boxes will be listed. Both parties recognise, however, their importance as heritage assets, whether listed or not.”

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