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2024 is a year of elections across the world. During the recent property conference, UKREiiF, the UK general election was called for 4th July 2024. But what does this mean for the warehousing and logistics sector?

The UK Warehousing Association (UKWA) and the British Property Federation (BPF) have issued logistics manifestos.

Speaking at UKREiiF, Clare Bottle (CEO of UKWA) said her number one priority is a logistics minister to unlock this sector’s potential across all government departments.

Planning reform

Current planning strategy and planning systems are considered too protracted and outdated to meet logistics demands and insufficiently reflect evolving market needs in the industry.

The BPF has called for more flexible planning strategy through the use of strategic plans as opposed to local plans, which inevitably become out-of-date in a short space of time.

The BPF proposes that this changed approach towards strategic planning will better meet the needs for warehouses in certain locations across the country and promote infrastructure growth.  

UKWA is also recommending planning reform, to ensure that the planning system notes the benefits, logistics, land and property can bring to local communities, through the provision of jobs and consumer goods as well as benefits for local businesses.  

Better understanding and representation at government level

The needs and notable contribution to the UK economy of the logistics and warehousing sector need to be properly understood.

As mentioned above, UKWA has recommended the appointment of a dedicated Logistics Minister to represent the industry at cabinet level and help the sector to achieve its full potential.

To promote the interests of the logistics industry, the BPF has suggested the creation of a cross-departmental Freight Planning Forum, consisting of public and private sector members, to consider sector-specific issues.

Solar and future energy

The logistics industry is urging the government to take advantage of the sustainable power opportunities presented by solar panels on warehouse roofs and other means.

In its manifesto, UKWA has called for a successor to the Solar Taskforce, which ran up to February 2024, in order to promote commercial solar rooftop plans.

The BPF has also pushed for the new government to enable large sites to connect to the national grid, so that solar energy generated by such logistics sites can be used by homes and businesses across the country.

Innovation and education

It is recognised that innovation and new technologies are fundamental to the economic growth and development of the logistics industry.

UKWA has suggested that the Connected Places Catapult and Generation Logistics initiatives advance innovation in logistics and warehousing by engaging the next generation with the industry.

The sector provides many entry level jobs that are not dead end jobs and the government should partner with employers to promote careers and develop apprenticeships.

UKWA has also called for the government to incentivise British tech companies, to develop automated systems and tools to increase productivity and efficiency in warehousing processes that are fundamental to the UK economy.

Restructure of business rates

In recent years, warehouses and other logistics buildings have not benefited from the same caps and reliefs as commercial properties in other sectors, particularly retail, hospitality and leisure.

Therefore, UKWA has proposed reform in this area as well as simplifying the procedure for challenging a business rates valuation.

The future?

Whatever administration we end up with after 4 July 2024, the logistics and warehousing sector will remain crucial to the UK and hopefully the government will create the regulatory and economic environment to support it.

Key Contacts

Emma McGlinchey

Emma McGlinchey

Partner | Head of Real Estate

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Charlotte Smith

Charlotte Smith

Trainee Solicitor

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