Are we trying to be too green?

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Occupiers are increasingly on the look out for sites with good access to the rail network and port connectivity as pressures grow for more sustainable supply chains, according to Lambert Smith Hampton’s latest National Industrial and Distribution Report.

Dr Arezou Said, head of research at Lambert Smith Hampton said: “This trend is set to continue as occupiers seek to avoid congestion on the road network, escalating fuel costs and to reduce the carbon footprint of their supply chain. Environmental standards for buildings are also on the up, partially in response to new legislation, but also as demand for ‘green sheds’ intensifies.”

However, recent research by Atisreal shows that there is grave concern that there is too much focus on green issues to the detriment of social and economic factors.

Tim Malthouse, executive director at Atisreal, comments: “We are concerned that green arguments are in danger of overshadowing social and economic factors in the property industry as demonstrated by our research whereby over one third of property industry participants (39 per cent) believe the risk of overemphasis on environmental factors over all others is ‘great’. The environment is obviously critical but it is vitally important that all factors are taken into account when property investment, occupier and development decisions are being made.

“There may be cases whereby new ‘green’ buildings are actually unsustainable because of a lack of balance between green issues and social needs. This research shows that an over-emphasis on environmental targets could, in some cases, overshadow the need for new developments to form a sustainable part of local economies.”

Emma Andrews, head of planning at Atisreal, adds: “The government is currently in consultation over PPS4 which is aimed at prioritising sustainable economic development. However, there is a danger that economic development will fall second to its environmental agenda which has been well publicised.” One of the concerns of Atisreal is that each site should be merited on its social and economic benefits in addition to its environmental qualities – for example, the creation of jobs, directly or indirectly, is a key factor to local communities and this should be given equal weighting to whether the building itself is carbon neutral.

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