Worth the Weight: Making London’s deliveries greener and smarter


Foreword: Impact on Urban Health

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder that our health is shaped by where we live, our jobs and our income – factors that are often beyond our control. Nowhere is this more evident than in our inner cities.

At Impact on Urban Health we’re focused on tackling the largest environmental driver of ill health – poor air quality. Air pollution disproportionately affects the health of children, older people and those with heart and lung conditions. It also intersects with other systemic causes of ill health such as unemployment and noise pollution, and has a disproportionate effect on people who live in lower-income neighbourhoods.

The air we breathe in our city centres is a product not only of how we get around cities, but also of how we heat our buildings and obtain goods and services. In London, we’ve seen exciting progress in tackling emissions from diesel and petrol cars – including the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone. But with changing consumer habits and the shift to online shopping, we need urgent, coordinated action to address emissions from urban freight. This report highlights how, by reimagining how we do urban deliveries, we can improve air quality and protect people’s health in a way that is fair and equitable.

Kate Langford Programme Director, Impact on Urban Health

Foreword: Prologis UK

At the start of the pandemic, as bricks and mortar stores closed their doors, internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales jumped from 18 to 37.1 per cent by January 2021, a growth rate that would have taken a decade to realise had it not been for the unprecedented national lockdown.

With online sales unlikely to drop back to pre-covid levels, cities, like London, face the challenge of balancing surging consumer demand for home deliveries with a need to improve air quality and reduce traffic noise and congestion.

The logistics sector has the ability to work with government and local authorities to solve the last mile delivery conundrum. It’s also a sector that can bring much needed jobs and investment to local areas. That’s why, as the UK’s largest developer and owner of logistics parks, we were delighted to support Centre for London to produce this report. This important piece of research shines a light on the complex interdependencies at play when it comes to last mile delivery and proposes key recommendations for businesses, consumers and government to drive positive change.

Robin Woodbridge Head of Leasing and Capital Deployment, Prologis UK