Island communities across the Isles of Scilly, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and the Hebrides would be the first to benefit.

Trials of the technology on the Orkney islands started last year as part of Royal Mail efforts to cut its carbon emissions for deliveries to remoter areas.

Longer term, the ambition is to deploy a fleet of more than 500 drones to support deliveries across the UK. Similar efforts to launch drone deliveries have been made in the past, with Amazon receiving support from the UK government in 2015 on a trial delivery service. However, the tech giant has still failed to launch a commercial service and has been winding down its Amazon Prime Air team in recent years.

But Royal Mail is more upbeat, saying that such a service will help it cut carbon emissions as well as improve the reliability of its remote island mail services. These currently use ferries, conventional aircraft and land-based delivery which can be affected by bad weather...

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