While the delivery of a parcel is often well received by the recipient, the idea of a distribution hub in their neighbourhood can evoke a less positive response.
Often the greatest obstruction to delivery of a hub isn’t a technical matter, but misunderstandings at a local level, together with an ingrained opposition. Common misconceptions relate to fears that such uses are loud, polluting and disruptive to those living nearby. As a result, it could be argued that even developments of a relatively small scale are not being given fair consideration by communities.
This staunch opposition is surprising on one hand, when you consider the UK is now the third largest nation in the world in regard to online shopping. With an increasing dependency on e-commerce to meet our daily needs, it is clear we need to have an open and honest conversation as we search for sustainable freight solutions.
When comparing the impact of traditional logistics upon our local communities, approximately a third of transport emissions in the UK originate from freight transport, with road freight in particular accounting for 77% of that.
In comparison, most recent proposals for last mile logistics have been developed with the latest technologies embedded into the design from the outset. Operationally, they involve consolidated distribution centres, small EV vehicles, a fleet of cargo bikes, smart scheduling for optimised delivery times, and energy-efficient buildings. As a result, proposals can help to minimise the number of large vans on the road, reduce traffic congestion and decrease air and noise pollution. This will ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of communities is prioritised, while also supporting UK plc.
Just as the UK’s relationship to retail and commerce has modernised, so too must our relationship with logistics and distribution.
In terms of the future direction of travel, it is important we undertake early and genuine engagement with local communities; listen to concerns and address them where possible . Equally, we must work hard to capture the voice of the silent majority, adopting a creative reach to successfully mobilise community support.
The engagement team at Iceni Projects have been advising a range of clients and successfully reaching a range of people who would not normally engage positively in the planning process in relation to warehousing and logistics proposals across the UK. Do get in touch if you would like to discuss.