You are here

Policy E4 Land for industry, logistics and services to support London's economic function


  1. A sufficient supply of land and premises in different parts of London to meet current and future demands for industrial and related functions should be maintained. This should make provision for:
    1. light and general industrial uses
    2. storage and logistics/distribution including ‘last mile’ distribution close to central London and the Northern Isle of Dogs, consolidation centres and collection points
    3. secondary materials and waste management
    4. utilities infrastructure
    5. land for sustainable transport functions including intermodal freight interchanges, rail and bus infrastructure
    6. wholesale markets
    7. emerging industrial-related sectors
    8. flexible (B1c/B2/B8) hybrid space to accommodate services that support the wider London economy and population
    9. low-cost industrial and related space for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (see also Policy E2 Low-cost business space) taking into account strategic and local employment land reviews, industrial land audits and the potential for intensification, co-location and substitution (see Policy E7 Intensification, co-location and substitution of land for industry, logistics and services to support London’s economic function).
  2. London’s land and premises for industry, logistics and services falls into three categories:
    1. Strategic Industrial Locations (SIL) – see Policy E5 Strategic Industrial Locations (SIL)
    2. Locally Significant Industrial Sites (LSIS) - see Policy E6 Locally Significant Industrial Sites
    3. non-Designated Industrial Sites[78] - see below.
  3. The retention and provision of industrial capacity across the three categories of industrial land set out in part B should be planned, monitored and managed, having regard to the industrial property market area and borough-level categorisations in Figure 6.1 and Table 6.2. This should ensure that in overall terms across London there is no net loss of industrial floorspace capacity (and operational yard space capacity) within designated SIL and LSIS. Any release of industrial land in order to manage issues of long-term vacancy and to achieve wider planning objectives, including the delivery of strategic infrastructure, should be facilitated through the processes of industrial intensification, co-location and substitution set out in Policy E7 Intensification, co-location and substitution of land for industry, logistics and services to support London’s economic function.
  4. The retention and provision of additional industrial capacity should be prioritised in locations that:
    1. are accessible to the strategic road network and/or have potential for the transport of goods by rail and/or water transport
    2. provide capacity for logistics, waste management, emerging industrial sectors or essential industrial-related services that support London’s economy and population
    3. provide capacity for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises
    4. are suitable for ‘last mile’ distribution services to support large-scale residential or mixed-use developments subject to existing provision.
  5. Any release of industrial capacity in line with part C should be focused in locations that are (or are planned to be) well-connected by public transport, walking and cycling and contribute to other planning priorities including housing (and particularly affordable housing), schools and other infrastructure.
  6. Efficient wholesale market functions should be retained to meet London’s requirements whilst enabling opportunities to consolidate composite wholesale markets to meet long-term wholesaling needs.
  7. Boroughs should ensure that the need to retain sufficient industrial and logistics capacity is not undermined by permitted development rights by introducing Article 4 Directions where appropriate.
  8. Development proposals for large-scale (greater than 2,500 sqm GIA) industrial floorspace should consider the scope to provide smaller industrial units suitable for SMEs, in particular where there is a local shortage and demand for such space.

    [78] Sites containing industrial and related functions that are not formally designated as SIL or LSIS in a Local Plan

London depends on a wide range of industrial, logistics and related uses that are essential to the functioning of its economy and for servicing the needs of its growing population, as well as contributing towards employment opportunities for Londoners. This includes a diverse range of activities such as food and drink preparation, creative industry production and maker spaces, vehicle maintenance and repair, building trades, construction, waste recycling, transport functions, utilities infrastructure, emerging activities (such as data centres, renewable energy generation and clean technology) and an efficient storage and distribution system which can respond to business and consumer demands[79].

[79] SEGRO, Keep London Working, 2017; Turley. Industrial Revolution, 2017

Wholesale markets have historically played an important role in London’s economy distributing fresh products to retailers, restaurants and street markets across the capital. Their future role is affected by competition from alternative distribution systems but they are also taking advantage of trends towards increased eating out and are supplying a range of products to London’s diverse communities. This Plan continues to recognise their role whilst enabling opportunities to consolidate composite wholesale markets to meet long-term wholesaling needs.

Industrial land and floorspace provides the capacity for the activities described above to operate effectively. In 2015, London had an estimated 6,976 hectares[80] of land in industrial and related uses of which about 50 per cent was within SILs, a further 14 per cent was in LSIS designated by boroughs and the remaining 36 per cent was in Non-Designated Industrial Sites which are not designated in Local Plan policies maps.

[80] AECOM. London Industrial Land Supply and Economy Study, GLA, 2016

Over the period 2001 to 2015, more than 1,300 hectares of industrial land (including SILs, LSIS and Non-Designated Industrial Sites) was transferred to other uses. This was well in excess of previously established London Plan monitoring benchmarks[81]. Research for the GLA indicates that there will be positive net demand for industrial land in London over the period 2016 to 2041[82], mostly driven by strong demand for logistics to service growth in London’s economy and population. The GLA’s assessment indicates that after factoring in both the positive net land demands and the management of vacancy rates, there would be scope to release a further 233 hectares of industrial land over the period 2016 to 2041. However, the demand assessment shows that in 2015, 185 hectares of industrial land already had planning permission to change to non-industrial use and a further 653 hectares were earmarked for potential release in Opportunity Area Planning Frameworks, Local Plans and Housing Zones.

[81] AECOM 2016 op cit

[82] CAG Consulting, London Industrial Land Demand Study, GLA 2017

Based upon this evidence, this Plan addresses the need to retain sufficient industrial, logistics and related capacity by seeking, as a general principle, no overall net loss of industrial floorspace capacity across London in designated SIL and LSIS. Floorspace capacity is defined here as either the existing industrial and warehousing floorspace on site or the potential industrial and warehousing floorspace that could be accommodated on site at a 65 per cent plot ratio[83] (whichever is the greater). The principle of no net loss of floorspace capacity does not apply to sites previously used for utilities infrastructure or land for transport functions which are no longer required.

[83] Source: London Employment Sites Database, GLA Economics, 2017: 65 per cent is the default plot ratio assumption for industrial and warehousing sites

Guidance on the approach to be taken to the management of industrial floorspace capacity at borough level and across industrial property market areas is provided in Figure 6.1 and Table 6.2. Boroughs in the ‘Provide Capacity’ category are those where strategic demand for industrial, logistics and related uses is anticipated to be the strongest[84]. They should seek to deliver intensified floorspace capacity in either existing and/or new locations accessible to the strategic road network and in locations with potential for transport of goods by rail and/or water.

[84] CAG Consulting, 2017 op cit

Boroughs in the ‘Retain’ category should seek to intensify industrial floorspace capacity following the general principle of no net loss across designated SIL and LSIS. All boroughs in the Central Services Area fall within this category in recognition of the need to provide essential services to the CAZ and Northern Isle of Dogs and in particular sustainable ‘last mile’ distribution/logistics, ‘just-in-time’ servicing (such as food service activities, printing, administrative and support services, office supplies, repair and maintenance), waste management and recycling, and land to support transport functions.

There are three boroughs in the ‘Limited Release’ category (all in the Thames Gateway) where industrial land vacancy rates are currently well above the London average. There is scope in these selected boroughs for limited release of industrial land in SIL and/or LSIS through a plan-led approach to reduce these vacancy rates and support the re-use of surplus land and floorspace for other uses.

Table 6.2 - Management of industrial floorspace capacity - industrial property market area and borough-level categorisations

Property Market Area / BoroughCategorisation
Central Services Area
CamdenRetain capacity
City of LondonRetain capacity
HackneyRetain capacity
IslingtonRetain capacity
Kensington & ChelseaRetain capacity
LambethRetain capacity
LewishamRetain capacity
LLDCRetain capacity
SouthwarkRetain capacity
Tower HamletsRetain capacity
WestminsterRetain capacity
Thames Gateway
Barking & DagenhamLimited release
BexleyRetain capacity
BromleyRetain capacity
GreenwichRetain capacity
HaveringLimited release
NewhamLimited release
RedbridgeRetain capacity
Lee Valley
EnfieldProvide capacity
HaringeyRetain capacity
Waltham ForestRetain capacity
Park Royal/Heathrow
BarnetRetain capacity
BrentProvide capacity
EalingProvide capacity
Hammersmith & FulhamRetain capacity
HarrowRetain capacity
HillingdonRetain capacity
HounslowRetain capacity
OPDCProvide capacity
RichmondRetain capacity
Wandle Valley
CroydonRetain capacity
KingstonRetain capacity
MertonRetain capacity
SuttonProvide capacity
WandsworthProvide capacity