Little details of design

What’s uniting MPs at the moment? If I give you three guesses, I bet you won’t get it.

Ok, you win.

It’s low-level letterboxes.

They hate them.

As do postal workers, not surprisingly.

If anyone can relate to the postal workers, it’s MPs and any seasoned political campaigners, who spend most of their weekends knocking on people’s doors and putting leaflets through letterboxes in all kinds of weather.

They will have tried desperately to avoid the bits of metal on the other side of the box, or the fuzzy bit, or tried to shove a leaflet into a box that was too small, or upright (not horizontal).

Every MP, councillor and activist will have either experienced or heard of someone putting a leaflet through a low-level letterbox on polling day and subsequently been bitten by a dog, or hurt their back.

In January this year, just a few hours before the no confidence motion in the government, Conservative MP for Chelmsford Vicky Ford, introduced a piece of legislation which brought MPs of all parties together in unison.

A private members’ bill banning low level letter boxes and changing the UK building regulations to bring our current building standards up to European levels, meaning that all new builds will have letterboxes 0.7 – 1.7m higher from the ground.

The campaign itself has been a long-standing campaign by postal workers’ unions like the Communications Workers Union (CWU).

The aim of the campaign was to curb the number of back injuries, dog bites and other injuries suffered owing to low level letterboxes. Last year alone it is estimated that 16,800 back-related injuries were suffered by postal workers as a result of low level letterboxes.

With divisions on the left and right, it’s good to see that politicians can unite around harder to reach issues facing the UK.

And when you’re designing your next home, make sure you get that letterbox right – politicians will be the first to thank you.

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