Government consultation on planning is a crucial opportunity, says UKWA

July 27, 2023

The launch of the government’s open consultation on Freight, Logistics and the Planning System this month represents a crucial opportunity for us to influence significant change in an area that has long been a major frustration for the sector, says UKWA CEO Clare Bottle.

“Too often there has been high level focus on residential development, without due regard to the delivery needs of residents. We know that land for commercial development close to conurbations is in short supply and that there is a prevailing ‘nimbyism’ in local communities, who want online orders delivered to their homes quickly and sustainably, yet object to the idea of a warehouse close by.

UKWA has argued that fulfilment and distribution centres should be included in new development master plans, along with GP surgeries and schools, as an essential support service to communities. Educating people – both within communities and local authorities – that warehouses can be good neighbours, generating diverse employment opportunities and supporting the local economy, is part of carrying communities with us. However, this opportunity to feedback directly to government and influence planning policy reform is a big potential win for warehousing.

We have already come a long way in driving our interests up the governmental priority list. The Future of Freight (FoF) plan was published in June 2022, recognising that the sector has a role in supporting the growth of the economy as well as the levelling up agenda. It committed the government to call for evidence to better understand the practical issues in planning and to determine the right infrastructure to support the freight and logistics industry. That call is happening right now, and it is vital that we respond.

The government is listening and we need to step up, be clear in our requirements, and provide the data and empirical evidence required to make our case.”

UKWA is preparing plans to encourage and support members in contributing to the consultation process.

Clare concludes, “Every contribution makes a difference and I would urge everyone to take part. This is an important issue for the sector, and our mission is to ensure the voice of warehousing is heard!”

The Warehouse Employment Survey will form part of UKWA’s response to the Planning Call for Evidence. Please take the time to complete the survey below.