Savills and St. Modwen Logistics have called on the government to improve the current planning system to “support the growth of the logistics sector and encourage more development of modern, sustainable warehousing to keep pace with increasing demand”.
In response to the government’s call for evidence on ‘freight and logistics and the planning system’, which opened in July and closed at the beginning of October, the two companies submitted five recommendations for policy changes.
These recommended changes were: implementing a national policy that recognises industrial and logistics facilities as “critical national infrastructure”; using the ‘Suppressed Demand’ Model developed by Savills and St. Modwen as the basis for assessing future demand for logistics space; requiring local authorities to set five-year employment land supply targets mirroring the approach to residential land supply; reintroducing a strategic tier of planning; and putting together a government-led training programme to upskill local government planners, local members, and planning inspectors on commercial markets and the key trends and market conditions that influence future logistics demand.
Both firms believe that these measures “have the potential to enable the planning system to effectively fulfil its vital role in facilitating freight and logistics growth”.
Mark Powney, Director of Economics at Savills, said: “The logistics sector has been the fastest growing commercial sector in the UK for over a decade. Jobs in the sector pay better than the national average across an increasingly diverse range of occupations.
“It is time the planning system takes measures to plan proactively for commercial uses in order help our struggling economy. As part of this, improving the way we plan for the strong demand from logistics occupiers must be a major focus.”
Richard Hickman, Senior Director of Planning at St. Modwen Logistics, added: “The policy changes we recommend would unlock the delivery of high-quality new warehouse space in the locations where it is most needed.”
Calculations done by Savills have revealed that annual demand for new logistics space currently exceeds the delivery of new units by 58%. Furthermore, “historic land constraints have suppressed industrial demand by 29% over the past decade”, according research by Savills and St. Modwen Logistics.
With the logistics sector reportedly contributing around £238 billion of gross value added (GVA) to the economy annually – 14% of the UK’s total GVA – and warehousing playing a vital role in supply chains, it is important that the right planning policies are in place to support industry growth.
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