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Urban logistics facilities are expected to expand by 40 per cent over the next four years, but only a quarter of local authorities have policies to deal with the demand, according to a study by planning consultant Lichfields.

‘Going the last mile: Planning for last mile logistics’ found that 80 per cent of councils have logistics sector policies in place, but that fall to 27 per cent for last mile logistics.

Associate director Ross Lillico said: “The scale of anticipated growth means that it is vitally important that local authorities plan appropriately to meet the needs of the sector or risk overheating commercial property markets and crowding out more cost sensitive industrial occupiers in urban areas.”

Many councils say designated general employment sites, and a degree of policy flexibility, are sufficient to cater for the needs of last mile logistics operators, but the study found that the proportion of authorities who felt they were well positioned to cater for last mile logistics requirements – at 55 per cent – is currently below the proportion that have experienced growth in demand from the sector in recent years – at 65 per cent.

“It would appear that some authorities are currently attracting investment in last mile logistics despite, not because of, their approach to plan making,” said Lillico.


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