Bishop & Sewell

The sustainability considerations around ‘big sheds’, or those massive warehouses frequently  located on the side of motorways, are often as big as the costs associated with constructing Industrial & Logistics mega units, writes Thom Wilkinson, a Partner in our Property and Environmental Law team.

If Commercial property on an industrial scale is of interest to you then Savill’s Big Shed Briefing is always good value. In their latest issue Hugh Walton uncannily echoes some of the points I made in a previous blog, suggesting, “ESG is key when it comes to industrial occupiers’ pursuit of Grade A+ space.”

Hugh goes on to say, “Real estate, and in this instance industrial & logistics, operates within a dynamic environment where demands from both occupiers and investors are continuously shifting. Whether to align with market trends, legislation, planning requirements or all three, there has been a notable pursuit for best in class buildings.

“This has led to a desire for Grade A+ units, space that goes above and beyond conventional prime stock. While there is no tangible definition, it can mean a variety of different things, depending on a myriad of variables including size, occupier type and location.”

Often the challenge of demonstrating that there’s a commercial benefit for pursuing rigorous environmental, social and governance standards (ESG) can be difficult, with many cynics suggesting at the present it’s just a ‘nice to have’. However in the Big Shed’s Briefing Savills’ data shows that Grade A industrial warehouse space accounts for 72% of take-up per annum, suggesting considerable demand. Yet, just 13% of the overall stock meets the Grade A+ or Grade A EPC rating standard indicating serious scarcity.

This emphasis on sustainability not only aligns with regulatory mandates, but also demonstrates a commitment to reducing environmental footprints and operational costs. Savills quotes research by Prologis which suggests not having solar PV installed could cost a business up to £589,380 over a ten year lease, assuming 80% of energy usage comes from solar, whilst Tritax’s Belvedere Wharf scheme in South East London could save a tenant occupying a circa 115,000 sq ft unit £92,050 annually due to its environmental credentials.

As I suggested in my previous ESG article, every step, no matter how small, contributes to a more sustainable (and economically more advantageous) future. The occupier and real estate landscape is evolving. Whilst there will constantly be changes in policy and specification requirements the transition from Grade A to A+ building is a significant one, essential for the journey to achieving net-zero by 2050.

There are many further useful sources of information. A fuller explanation of how ESG impacts the property sector can be found here on Aquicore’s website.

Two other useful ESG resources are the UK Green Building Council, and the ESG Foundation, which curates an up to date library of ESG reports, topical ESG related podcasts and articles.


Contact our Property and Environmental Law Specialist

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please do get in contact, quoting ref CB474. Thom Wilkinson is a Partner specialising in Property and Environmental Law and is contactable on: +44 (0)20 7692 7581 or

The above is accurate as at 04 June 2024. The information above may be subject to change during these ever-changing times.

The content of this note should not be considered legal advice and each matter should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Category: Blog, News | Date: 3rd Jun 2024

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