As UK’s leading trade Association for the warehousing sector, UKWA provides a voice for the industry, representing members’ interests and views to policy makers and influencers.

Our community needs the support of Westminster, Holyrood, Cymru and Stormont that not only understand the challenges we face but, more importantly, are prepared to take appropriate steps to address them.

Accordingly, UKWA has a dedicated and experienced policy team, focused on ensuring that the governments from our four nations, their agencies and devolved authorities, listen to our proposals, and provide opportunity for members to help shape relevant policy.

Key areas of focus for UKWA currently include:

  • Labour & Skills
  • Infrastructure & Planning
  • Sustainability & Net-Zero
  • Business Rates

Our work includes other areas relevant to member operations such as digitisation, technology and automation.

Labour & Skills

The UK’s warehousing sector is amidst transformational change on an unprecedented scale. A rapidly accelerating home delivery and e-commerce market is continually adding demand for fulfilment and distribution centres across Britain. As a result, the sector is one the fastest growing of all sectors in the UK employing 8% of the nation’s workforce.

Brexit and the global pandemic have exacerbated these seismic shifts in consumer and societal behaviour as well as the sectors longstanding challenges to access the labour and skills it needs to meet demand.

UKWA is working to:

  • Raise awareness amongst policy makers and influencers of the challenges the sector faces to identify and implement effective solutions.
  • Attract a new generation of workers to the warehousing industry by highlighting the diverse range of career opportunities the sector has to offer to potential recruits from all backgrounds.
  • Improve the financial support available to the sector to ensure that it can invest in new talent.
  • Encourage development and investment in those already working in the sector to retain the existing workforce.

Associated UKWA Policy Viewpoints:

July / August 2022

January / February 2022

Infrastructure & Planning

The warehousing sector is seeing tremendous growth in demand for space. The pandemic has accelerated demand for more online shopping, but there are many other longer-term factors driving a race for industrial space including the supply-chain changes coming from our new trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world.

At the national planning policy level, the planning system needs to be more reactive and capable of responding to market conditions. We currently have significant demand for warehousing but an acute shortage of land and buildings.

UKWA is calling for:

  • A planning system that enables the provision of sufficient land for logistics development in locations which match market requirements.
  • A planning system that is more reactive to market conditions. The current system is too slow to respond to changes in demand, consumer trends and behaviours.
  • Local plan making that acknowledges the appropriate requirements for the location of new logistics space for a variety of types whether national, regional, last mile, pick up points, or a combination.
  • New warehouse space that is planned for positively so that it can be delivered in parallel with the delivery of new housing.
  • A strengthened national planning policy framework to support industrial and logistics growth and which provides explicit guidance on how the spatial needs and land requirements for key sectors should be determined and delivered.
  • Decision makers at all levels to recognise in policy the value of logistics – as an economic contributor, both in its own right and in terms of supporting other sectors and meeting societal demands.

Associated UKWA Policy Viewpoints:

March / April 2022

Sustainability & Net-Zero

The government has a bold goal – to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The warehouses of 2050 are being built now, so for this sector to play its part, the government must support warehousing, which is net-zero by design, both in the embodied carbon of the construction phase and the operational carbon when it is functioning as a logistics facility.

Refrigeration is an energy intensive process, so for temperature-controlled warehouses, the UK’s sustainability goals mean that businesses are vulnerable to rises in energy prices and future regulations targeting energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions.

UKWA is working to:

  • Ensure that policy makers and influencers are fully briefed on the concerns and needs of the sector.
  • Identify practical and workable solutions that work for the warehousing industry.
  • Provide the tools members need to calculate their environmental impact and how to reduce this.
  • Support members on the challenging journey to net-zero.

Associated UKWA Policy Viewpoints:

October / November 2021

Business Rates

Business rates are an important consideration for every warehouse in the UK. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) gives the government the valuations and property advice needed to support taxation and benefits.  Their 2021 revaluation was cancelled, so the new ‘Rating List’ is not scheduled for publication by the VOA until 2023. It will be based on rents from an antecedent valuation date of 1st April 2021.

The valuation date of 1st April 2021 is potentially unfair.  Exceptional market conditions at that time pushed warehouse rents up and this could prompt above-average rateable value increases for warehouses in the 2023 Rating List.

Assuming the government wants to maintain a consistent (or even higher) level of revenue from the overall system, then a significant fall in rateable values of retail and office space could put upwards pressure on the calculation formula, known as the annual multiplier.

Other sectors – notably retailers, are advocating shifting some of the burden from retail properties to logistics properties to reflect the trend for online sales.

UKWA is calling for:

  • Fair business rates for warehousing sector.
  • A package of financial support to help warehouse operators transition to increased business rates.
  • Clarity on what the new rates will be much sooner than is currently planned – See UKWA’s recent consultation response here (link to attached).

Associated UKWA Policy Viewpoints:

May / June 2022

August / September 2021