The actions of postman Roger Annies, who told householders on his round how to avoid unaddressed junk mail, have led to more than 200,000 people signing up to opt-out schemes.
In August this year Mr Annies delivered a homemade leaflet to about 70 households on his round about opting out of receiving unaddressed mail delivered by Royal Mail. When his actions came to the attention of Royal Mail bosses he was suspended and later given a backroom job. However, it appears Mr Annies has more than achieved his goal. The story quickly became headline news and drew support from people around the country. And not only that, it also caused an unprecedented growth in people signing up to opt-out schemes for junk mail.
It is unknown how many people have registered with Royal Mail's Door-to-Door Opt-Out as Royal Mail refuses to publish data about its opt-out scheme for unaddressed mail, but the Mailing Preference Service has confirmed that there has been a huge increase in registrations. A spokeswoman for the opt-out scheme for addressed junk mail said: "Since the end of August the figures have gone up by 200,000 in about a month, although they have now returned to a relatively low level."
Human and sensible
Postwatch said the rise was clearly a result of the publicity given to Annies' case. A spokesman for the watchdog for the postal industry said that while Annies had leafleted people about a different service - the Royal Mail's opt-out scheme for unaddressed junk mail - Mr Annies had highlighted the issue as a whole: "Without a doubt this increase is because of the publicity surrounding Roger Annies but, at Postwatch, we think it was Royal Mail's reaction that led to hundreds of thousands of people opting out. People saw someone was doing something human and sensible and was being victimised for it."
In an interview with BBC News Mr Annies said he did not regret his actions: "I still think, and have always thought, from a moral point of view I haven't done anything wrong. There is a time when you start to doubt yourself, but when so many people come to you and say what a great thing you have done it helps you keep your head up."
- Postman 'inspires junk opt-outs' (bbc.co.uk)