BPF: Government must encourage industrial development as well as housing

1 Dec 2015

Policy area: Industrial

The property industry has warned that central and local government must better recognise the importance of the industrial sector, both as a valuable tool for economic growth and for the role the logistics sector plays in ensuring the commercial success of e-tailing and associated activities such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Delivering the Goods, published today by the British Property Federation (BPF) and researched by planning consultancy Turley, has outlined the valuable contribution the logistics sector makes to the UK - £100 billion Gross Value Added (GVA) per year.

Following the launch of its Industrial Committee last year, the BPF is calling on central Government to recognise the important role the logistics industry plays in the wider economy. With the industrial sector facing increasing competition for land from higher value uses such as housing, the BPF would like to see Government departments coordinate their approach to development to ensure that the needs of logistics and the wider industrial sector are met.

It is also encouraging local government to acknowledge the economic contribution of the sector and to ensure that industrial land is given adequate provision in Local Plans. It would  like to see coordinated infrastructure planning, which can help ensure the delivery of road, rail, port, energy and digital connectivity to support the industrial and logistics sector.

Other findings in the report show that:

  • The logistics sector directly supports a minimum of 56,000 businesses;
  • Employment in the logistics sector is estimated as high as 2.2 million, or 8% of the UK’s workforce;
  • Employment in warehousing operations increased by 40% between 2009 and 2013;
  • Average salaries in the logistics sector (£28,000) are above the national average (£20,000);
  • The average salary has grown at a higher rate (7%) over the last five years than the national average (3%);
  • Only around 15% of employees in the sector work part time, compared to an average of 32% in other sectors.

Melanie Leech, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said: “The logistics sector can often be overlooked, and few realise what a vital part it plays in our everyday lives. Delivering the enormous amount of online orders placed on Black Friday, for example, would not be possible without the logistics sector. 

“But the provision of industrial land does more than just ensure that your Christmas shopping arrives on time – it also creates skilled jobs and delivers significant economic growth. Local authorities are under a lot of pressure to deliver housing, and while this is important a balanced approach must be taken. This report shows that there is actually a lot for them to gain from welcoming a sector that provides jobs for the local community.  ”

David Smith, Director Business Space and logistics lead for Turley, added “We are delighted to have been commissioned by the British Property Federation for this key piece of work. These are exciting times for a rapidly evolving logistics sector and it is important that dialogue between the industry, its stakeholders and decision makers is informed by a sound understanding of its true contribution to UK plc”.   

Gareth Osborn, Chair of the BPF Industrial Committee and Head of Logistics at SEGRO, said: “With a shortage of industrial land, coupled with an increasing need for housebuilding, the industry faces great challenges when it comes to acquiring sites as well as securing planning permission for industrial uses. This report highlights the vital role the sector plays in our everyday life, as well demonstrating its contribution to the wider national economy.”

ENDS