By Claire West

Royal Mail announced it has put a range of measures in place to tackle the impact of the severe weather on deliveries to those parts of the country most impacted by the heavy snowfalls.

The measures (see below) constitute a £20m investment by Royal Mail over the next two weeks. They are in addition to the very considerable resources already allocated by the company to its Christmas delivery programme. Significant extra resources are being deployed right across the UK, including in the North East, Scotland, and the Midlands.

The main additional actions now being taken are:

* The recruitment of up to 3,000 more people
* Approximately 6,500 extra deliveries (primarily packets) yesterday in the areas most affected by the severe weather, delivering to around one million addresses
* An additional 500 professional HGV drivers and an extra 250 large lorries
* Seven more operational centres on top of the 24 already in use

These actions are on top of Royal Mail's already announced Christmas programme. It includes the recruitment of up to an additional 20,000 people and extended opening hours at all Royal Mail's 1,400 local delivery offices.

The UK has recently experienced the longest period of prolonged cold weather and snowfall in almost 30 years (source: Met Office). Essential public services, including Royal Mail, have been disrupted by this adverse weather throughout December, particularly in Scotland, the North East and North Midlands.

Mark Higson, Managing Director, Royal Mail, said, "We are pulling out all the stops to deliver this Christmas. The worst December weather the UK has seen in almost 30 years has had an impact on our services to some parts of the country. With this additional £20m investment, we are committed to ensure we deliver letters and packets as quickly as possible.

"Our people are doing a great job in very challenging conditions. I would like to thank them for their tremendous efforts to ensure we continue to deliver right up until Christmas Eve."

Royal Mail is advising customers, irrespective of the weather conditions to post early for Christmas. The last posting dates for Christmas are Wednesday 15 December for Standard Parcels, Saturday, 18 December for Second Class items, Tuesday, 21 December for First Class mail and packets and Thursday, 23 December for Special Delivery.