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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics
Dr Stefania  Fiorentino

Dr Stefania Fiorentino has been appointed as a commissioner for the Centre for London’s Industrial Land Commission, chaired by Liz Peace CBE. The commission is made up of senior experts including academics, local authorities, landowners and occupiers.

Key questions explored are:

  • What role does industrial land play in London’s economy – from jobs to logistics, to sustainable city servicing. How has this changed and how is it likely to change in the future? How should we assess the trade-offs with other uses?
  • What are the opportunities to intensify industrial land or combine it with other uses? What new models of intensification and multi-use are or could be, developed?
  • How should industrial land planning policy be strengthened and reformed?  What can local, regional and national government do, beyond planning policy, to support optimal use of industrial land?

In recent years London has seen an erosion of its stock of industrial land; with a growing population, demand for such space has in fact to compete with other uses like housing. But the economy of the city still largely depends on the effective use of its industrial sites. Industrial sites play an important role in logistics, with freight consolidation sites enabling effective last-mile distribution of the goods on which the city depends. But, the function that can be allocated in industrial land are quite varied and include many innovative activities that SMEs carry out contributing to make London a vibrant global city, e.g. tech studios and advanced printing, to film studios and breweries.

Research for the Greater London Authority shows that there will be increasing demand for industrial land up to 2041, as the logistics and service sectors continue to grow. 

The new London Plan addresses the need to provide sufficient industrial, logistics, and related capacity through its policies. However, industrial land is still a controversial matter. Pollution rates and contamination issues have displaced the more polluting activities to lower value land in the more peripheral boroughs while discussion continues over those light-industrial uses that could be suitable for a co-location with housing and are currently not protected by any planning designation.

The new London Plan proposes the intensification and consolidation of industrial activity as a way of delivering additional capacity and increasing housing supply. However, given the diversity of industrial activity, the ability for intensification and co-mixing is limited. Additional points for discussion are offered by the possibility of re-using and regenerating derelict and/or vacant spaces. The pandemic and the need for a post-Covid economic recovery has accelerated reflection on London’s future as well as more immediate actions on industrial land.

The Industrial Land Commission aims to explore the diverse and changing contemporary and potential future uses of industrial land and develop cross-sector recommendations on ways forward.

The full list of commissioners includes:

  • Mark Brearley, Kaymet London Limited
  • Andrea Charlson, ReLondon
  • Jessica Ferm, Bartlett School of Planning, University College London
  • Stefania Fiorentino, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge
  • David Francis, West London Alliance
  • Caroline Harper, Be First
  • Neil Impiazzi, SEGRO
  • Paul Lewin, London Borough of Brent
  • Holly Lewis, We Made That
  • Gerald Mason, Tate & Lyle Sugars
  • Rob McNicol, Greater London Authority
  • Martyn Saunders, Avison Young
  • Liz Peace, Centre for London

Centre for London is a thinktank that undertakes research, influences policy-making and organises events aimed at developing new solutions to London’s critical challenges.

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