Rural businesses and communities will be hit hardest by the postal strike, according to the Country Land and Business Association.

The Communication Workers Union strike began at 4am on Thursday 29 October with further 24-hour strikes due to take place on 30 and 31 October.

The CLA said that rural dwellers were far more reliant on postal delivery being maintained because there were fewer post offices, fewer courier services and a lack of access to broadband in the countryside.

Douglas Chalmers, director CLA North, said that Royal Mail had suggested there would be a greater chance of post being collected from Post Offices than post boxes.

“This is all very well if you still have a Post Office in the neighbourhood.

“And of course, where rural areas cannot access fast, affordable broadband, using the internet for business purposes is simply not an option,” said Mr Chalmers.

“The timing of this strike means that many rural businesses will be cut off at the worst possible time.

“Orders and cheques will be held up, causing disappointment and frustration and damaging already fragile cash flows. Food producers and suppliers should be marketing and taking orders for Christmas – their busiest time of the year,” Mr Chalmers said.

The postal strike is also likely to disrupt delivery of Farmers Weekly to subscribers.

Efforts have been made to investigate alternative distribution methods but they depend on Royal Mail for the final delivery.

Farmers Weekly will be producing digital versions of the whole magazine, including all content and advertising, during the dispute period.

At this stage, it is not clear what the full implications of the strike will be for the magazine, but we apologise to readers in advance for any delays experienced.

The digital version will be available by email to all subscribers who provide us with an email address and subscriber number.

Simply look out your subscriber number which is an eight-digit number above your name and address on the plastic cover of the magazine. Then call 01444 445 577 or email rbi.subscriptions@quadrantsubs.com.