Welcome

Thank you for visiting Ocado’s consultation website, where you can find information on a proposed Confirmation of Use planning application for our site at the existing Bush Industrial Estate in Tufnell Park.

Alongside our plans for a new substation to power our fleet of electric vans, the approval of this planning application will help us to serve the one in six households in the London Borough of Islington who shopped with Ocado in the last year*. Our aim is to be the best possible neighbour to the local community and to bring a faster, better and more sustainable service to our customers in Islington.

Ocado’s plans have been designed to continue to push for a sustainable and environmentally-conscious service for our customers, while also respecting our neighbours and local residents. We have set out in this consultation a plan for our future London distribution centres, which will improve how we get groceries to your door by being as sustainable as possible.

Since our plans to rehabilitate the site on the Bush Industrial Estate were first announced over a year ago we have listened to the community. The proposed Ocado site will be the most sustainable grocery distribution facility in the UK while at the same time creating over 250 much-needed new jobs for local residents.

As part of this pre-planning consultation, we want to hear from you about our proposals. Having your say is easy. Once you have reviewed our plans you can get in touch through our online feedback form.

The deadline for receiving your comments is Tuesday 18th May 2021 and all comments will be reviewed before a planning application is submitted to Islington Council in early Summer.

*Number of unique delivery addresses who shopped with Ocado in 2020 divided by the number of households in the Borough (Data source: GLA, 2017)

Site Context

The Bush Industrial Estate is an existing and established Industrial Site, and is allocated as a Strategic Industrial Location in the Islington Local Plan. For the last 40 years, the land now known as the Bush Industrial Estate has been used by a range of companies for industrial storage and distribution purposes. Among others, Royal Mail Group, BT, London Underground, Travis Perkins and Islington Council’s Joinery Workshop currently call the Bush Industrial Estate home.

Access to the Bush Industrial Estate is from Station Road, which leads directly to Junction Road in the west. To the north is the London Overground railway and beyond that Holloway Bus Garage and a range of residential streets. Also to the north is Wedmore Gardens, to the east is Whittington Park, with Yerbury Primary School, Foxham Road, other residential properties – and the rest of the Bush Industrial Estate – to the east and south east.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Ocado’s Vision for London

There has been very significant growth in online retail in recent years as shopping habits have changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of this change, with online grocery sales doubling as a percentage of the total grocery market in a matter of months.

We are proud to have played a key role in supporting this shift to online retail and pioneering the best way to provide a faster and even better service to our customers; while doing so in an environmentally-responsible way, with due care for the communities in which we operate.

Ocado is delivering an important part of the Mayor’s recently adopted London Plan, which sets out how online deliveries should be managed in the future, and promotes distribution sites in central and inner London to aid sustainable last-mile deliveries.

According to a recent report by Accenture, since March 2020 there has been a 17% reduction in carbon emissions in London due to the increase in last-mile supply chains and local fulfilment centres. The centres have prioritised local distribution of products and will lead to a lowering of last-mile emissions of between 17 and 26% by 2025.

The report can be accessed here.

 

Current deliveries to the London Borough of Islington

At the moment we’re making deliveries to homes in Islington from distribution centres in West London (Park Royal) and Hertfordshire (Hatfield). Serving our customers from this site in Islington will result in a 45% net reduction in miles travelled by vans and trailers.

According to a recent report by Oliver Wyman, the recent demand increase for same-day e-commerce services has led to the need for distribution centres closer to consumers. Given Islington’s demand for Ocado’s services, we are looking to invest in deliveries from local hubs – smaller sites that can serve our customers closer to their homes, as these sites require less floor space than physical retail – including reduction of logistics, selling space and related parking.

The report can be accessed here.

This approach, which has been amended to respond to local community concerns, means that we will:

  • Use electric vans exclusively for deliveries to Ocado customers in Islington instead of the current petrol and diesel vans coming from West London or Hertfordshire.*
  • Create over 250 much-needed new jobs employing residents in the communities in which we operate.
  • Enable a 45% reduction in the number of miles driven by our vehicles from the Bush Industrial Estate compared to the vehicle trips from our current sites in Hatfield and Park Royal.
  • Have a negligible impact on traffic around the grocery distribution site for the majority of roads assessed, with most adjacent roads seeing an imperceptible change in traffic movements.
  • A report from McKinsey & Company, identifies e-commerce as one of the key opportunities for grocery operators to promote sustainable business practices, including reducing a company’s carbon footprint and their carbon emissions.

The report can be accessed here.

*Pending approval from Islington Council, plans for a substation will enable Ocado to have a 100% electric fleet of delivery vans.

Delivering the largest electric vehicle fleet of any grocery retailer in the UK

We are creating something unique at the Bush Industrial Estate in North London – from this site we want to operate the largest fleet of electric vans of any grocery retailer in the UK. This will protect the environment at a time when online grocery delivery has never mattered more, and we believe this can be delivered by seeking to secure planning permission for a ‘Confirmation of Use’ (CoU).

We are seeking to secure planning permission that aims to re-confirm what we believe to be the site’s existing Class B8 designation – and therefore suitable for storage or distribution.

This is a planning application that allows us to commit to a range of other steps that respond directly to questions raised by the local community over the last 12 months.

Ocado has committed to:

  • Opening our distribution centre with a fully electric fleet of delivery vans.
  • Restocking this site using only natural gas-powered LGVs. These are up to 65% lower in emissions than diesel LGVs. They are also significantly quieter to operate.
  • Working to recruit staff to our new facility from local communities, helping to promote active and sustainable travel as well as incentivising them not to drive. We will set up secure bicycle storage racks and introduce a cycle to work scheme. We will also make season ticket loans available to staff coming from further afield in order to encourage use of public transport.


Together, we believe these proposals will help deliver a better and more sustainable service to our customers in Islington.

OCADO_EV_ZOOM - image of van and electric charging point

A new, sustainable site

Ocado is committed to working sustainably in the communities in which it operates. We remain committed to being the best possible occupant of the site and a fantastic neighbour to Yerbury Primary School and the wider Tufnell Park community.

Ocado has conducted transport, air quality and noise impact assessments to fully understand the effects of the proposed operations on the local area. The results of the assessments showed that our proposals will have a negligible impact on local traffic, air quality and noise to surrounding properties. These assessments will be available as part of the planning application submission to the Council and as part of the statutory consultation, which will take place after the submission and before any decision is taken.

Our traffic assessment concluded that the current application will result in a negligible change in traffic for the majority of local roads. It is important to highlight that the greatest amount of traffic from the site will come from the new entrance to the site (marked at 1), which will be used by our electric vans and staff vehicles. This is at the opposite end of the site to Yerbury School.

Using the guidelines of the Government Air Quality Strategy (AQS), the air quality assessment found that emissions will be more than 25% lower than the standard level of emissions allowed on site.

A Noise Assessment was conducted to evaluate any change in noise levels from the site. The report concluded that the proposals will meet the British Standard for noise levels when operating. There will also not be an adverse impact on the surrounding area and this has considered Yerbury Primary School as part of the assessment.

Notwithstanding the negligible impacts from the site, Ocado is also committed to installing the following mitigation measures to ensure that disruption to neighbours is minimised:

Click to enlarge
Green Living Wall

As part of Ocado’s commitment to being a good neighbour to Yerbury School, we will be installing a green ‘Living Wall’ at the boundary of the school (subject to planning permission approval). Living Walls use plant life such as colourful flowers and foliage to improve air quality, support local wildlife and biodiversity, and give children the opportunity to learn about the natural world around them.

Plants in the Living Wall are especially selected for their ability to trap particulate matter and can filter out up to 95% of the pollutants generated by vehicles. The Living Wall will also significantly reduce any noise from our site and be an attractive feature piece of greenery.

Indicative example of green living wall to be included in these proposals
Acoustic Fencing

In order to reduce any noise coming from the site, Ocado will install acoustic fencing next to the closest properties at Wedmore Gardens (also subject to planning permission approval). The acoustic fencing will act as a barrier between the Bush Industrial Estate and Wedmore Gardens, mitigating against any background noise coming from the distribution site. Noise quality will also be improved through the use of electric delivery vans, which produce significantly less sound than diesel powered vehicles.

We want our site to be positive for local residents and ensure it is a benefit to the local community. We believe these efforts will make our site on the Bush Industrial Estate the most sustainable grocery distribution facility anywhere in the UK.

Indicative example of acoustic fencing to be included in these proposals

Ocado Zoom

Ocado Zoom and the Bush Industrial Estate

Alongside Ocado’s traditional delivery service, we also offer our Ocado Zoom service, which delivers groceries including a range of fresh fruit and vegetables, everyday baby necessities, and household items within an hour, or during a slot later the same day.  We currently operate the service from a distribution site in Acton and would like to roll out the service more widely.

Parents have highlighted Ocado Zoom’s importance when they have been unable to pop to the shops for essentials like medicines due to childcare responsibilities, or have needed a few extra items to cook a family dinner. And we know it works really well for people who work long hours or night shifts, where more traditional pre-planned home deliveries simply don’t make sense. Customers have told us it has been a lifeline during the pandemic, especially for vulnerable or elderly people.

We want to bring forward the most sustainable Ocado Zoom service possible at the Bush Industrial Estate. We are continuing to assess the viability and planning considerations of the Zoom offering but it’s not part of the planning application at this stage.

Creating much needed new jobs

With the number of unemployed residents in the London Borough of Islington reaching 7,160 people earlier this year* – an increase of 144% compared to the same time last year – now more than ever it is important for new jobs to come from local sources.

Our new site will create over 250 much-needed new jobs in the community. Available in a range of part and full time roles, from management positions to delivery drivers and warehouse operatives, we want to work with Islington Council and job centres to ensure local residents have the opportunity to get on the career ladder with us.

We also invest in our staff. We provide excellent training and development opportunities to suit a wide range of employees, as well as a competitive benefits package. For example, our drivers will receive theory and practical-based training in order to help them be as prepared as possible for all eventualities, as well as being able to demonstrate safe and professional driving at all times as an ambassador of Ocado.

*House of Commons Library, claimant data, Jan 2021

OCADO_EV - Image of employee with trolley

Community investment

Ocado’s aim wherever it goes is to be a good neighbour and to help communities thrive.

We are excited to work in partnership with the community near the Bush Industrial Estate and across Islington to ensure residents benefit from our investment in Islington.

From our Acton grocery distribution site we donate over 95% of unsellable items to The Felix Project each week. This organisation collects fresh, nutritious food – from fruit and vegetables to dairy products and eggs – and delivers it to charities and schools so they can provide healthy, good-quality meals. We plan to roll out a similar scheme in Islington to cut food waste and help those in need.

Ocado supports local communities through our You Give We Give scheme, where we match our customers’ donations to our social enterprise and food bank partners. Last year, we donated over £8m to charitable organisations and causes.

We know there are many great charities and organisations in the area. We are keen to hear from anyone who might be interested in partnering with us via this form.

We also want to provide a service that meets the needs of the most vulnerable. During the pandemic we know how important access to online grocery deliveries has been. Throughout the pandemic we have sought to give priority access to as many of our customers as possible who were identified to us by Defra as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV).

Frequently Asked Questions

Ocado has commissioned a series of independent assessments from transport consultants WSP to assess the impact of our new facility on traffic, air quality and noise from an electric spoke facility.

Those reports conclude that:

  • An upgraded grocery distribution site at the Bush Industrial Estate will significantly reduce the number of miles driven by Ocado’s vehicles in Islington. For example, had our site been operational in 2020 there would have been a 45% reduction in the number of miles driven by our vehicles from Bush Industrial Estate, compared to the vehicle trips from our current sites in Hatfield and Park Royal.
  • The reduction in mileage would have meant a 52% reduction in carbon emissions compared to a diesel van service.
  • There will be a negligible impact on air quality at all receptors, including Yerbury Primary School.
  • The noise report concluded that the proposals will meet the British Standard for noise levels when operating. There will also not be an adverse impact on the surrounding area and included due consideration to Yerbury Primary School.
  • The site will have a negligible impact on traffic for the majority of roads assessed, with most adjacent roads seeing an imperceptible change in traffic movements from the site.

Ocado’s new site at the existing Bush Industrial Estate will help deliver a faster, better and more sustainable service to our customers in Islington and North London. We chose this site because its location supports this ambition.

We are submitting a Confirmation of Use planning application, as it is our view that it is simply to re-confirm what we believe to be the site’s existing Class B8 designation – and therefore suitable for warehousing and distribution.

We want to create something unique in Tufnell Park – the most sustainable site for grocery distribution in the UK – and we believe this can be delivered through planning permission for a new substation to deliver a step-change in the electricity supply and through seeking to secure planning permission.

We are therefore proceeding with a Confirmation of Use application. This is because we are keen to meet growing customer demand for grocery delivery in and around Islington as soon as possible. 92% of Islington households have registered with Ocado to use our services, over half have shopped with Ocado and one in six have shopped with us in the last year.

In order to meet these demands, we need to confirm that we can proceed with opening at this site as planned. This approach will enable us to be confident that we can open a sustainable delivery service in this area in a timely manner.

Ocado Zoom is not part of this application. Ocado Zoom is currently being trialled in Acton and is not a London-wide service at this stage. We are in the process of reviewing the feasibility of operating this at multiple sites, the demand for this service, and how to offer the most sustainable Ocado Zoom service possible.

Thank You & Next Steps

Thank you for visiting our consultation website and learning more about our Confirmation of Use application and how, if approved, it will allow us to create the most sustainable grocery distribution facility in the UK.

Have Your Say

We want to hear your views on our proposals. Getting in touch is easy. Simply complete the online feedback form here.

 

The deadline for receiving your comments is Tuesday 18th May 2021.

OCADO_ Image for final Section

Community Feedback

Charity Initiative Feedback

We want to hear how you would like Ocado to help the many great charities and organisations in the area. We are keen to hear from anyone that might be interested in partnering with us via the contact form below.

Our privacy policy can be viewed here.