Welcome

Thank you for visiting Ocado’s website, where you can find the latest news and information about our plans to create the most sustainable grocery distribution facility in the UK on the existing Bush Industrial Estate in Tufnell Park. Ocado served one in six households in the London Borough of Islington 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 deliver a sustainable and environmentally-conscious+ service for our customers, while also respecting our neighbours and local residents.

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 serviced by the largest fleet of electric vehicles of any site in the UK while at the same time creating over 250 much-needed new jobs for local residents.

We know a lot of questions have been asked about our plans and below you will also find an extensive FAQ section designed to explain what we are doing and why in more detail.

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

+ Measuring and publishing our carbon emissions is just one of the ways that we think about the impact our business has on the environment – we also work collaboratively with suppliers, other retailers and government to understand the impact of the food sector as a whole

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.

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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.


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.


Our research shows that no other grocery retailer operates a site with a 100% fleet of electric vans so that would make the Bush Industrial Estate one of the greenest in the country.

Local Distribution in 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.

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. 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:

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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

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 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

Proposals

The proposals for this site are for a new local distribution centre (known as a ‘spoke’) to provide groceries to the people of Islington through our Ocado delivery services. The site would be located on the Bush Industrial Estate and would act as a distribution hub for Ocado’s all-electric delivery fleet to make local deliveries.

Ocado also plans to install a green ‘Living Wall’ at the boundary with Yerbury school, to improve air quality, support local wildlife and biodiversity. Ocado also plans to install acoustic fencing next to the closest properties to reduce any noise from the site.

Ocado serves one in six households in Islington and has provided a vital service to many during the pandemic. As a result, we believe that a local distribution centre located at Tufnell Park will help provide faster grocery deliveries to our customers in Islington.

Currently Ocado’s distribution centres are located in Park Royal, Acton and in Hatfield. Delivering from this site will enable a 45% reduction in the number of miles driven by our vans compared to the trips from our current sites in Hatfield and Park Royal.

Sustainable Transport

Ocado is promoting sustainable and active transport modes amongst site staff to reduce the number of traffic movements and reduce the impact of the proposed development. Ocado will include secure bicycle storage racks and introduce a cycle to-work scheme. Ocado will also make season ticket loans available to staff coming from further afield in order to encourage use of public transport.

Ocado can confirm that electric vans will be used for all grocery deliveries from the site. This has been done after feedback from the community, who said they were concerned about the air pollution. This will be delivered as part of this planning application and also the substation application which will enable a 100% fleet of electric delivery vans.

Ocado has extensively researched whether an all-electric LGV fleet can be provided as part of this site. The current technology is not advanced enough to pursue this at the present time. The Applicant has instead committed to restocking this site using only natural gas-powered LGVs. These are up to 65% lower in emissions than diesel LGVs and are also significantly quieter to operate.

Ocado does not currently plan to operate Ocado Zoom from this site.

Ocado conducted an air quality assessment to assess the potential change in emissions onsite, and how this would impact air quality. 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 onsite. The current air quality levels were assessed through the placement of sensitive receptors around the site boundary. The results of the modelling showed that, in part to the all-electric delivery vans having zero tailpipe emissions, the site would have a negligible impact on air quality at nearby sensitive receptors.

Yerbury Primary School

The plans for the site have been designed to limit the impact on Yerbury Primary School and the surrounding area, Ocado has taken the following measures to ensure the impact on the school is minimised:

  • Cutting emissions by committing to an 100% electric van fleet
  • Reducing levels of noise as electric vans are quieter than non-electric vans
  • Managing traffic to the site by constructing a new entrance on the western side of the site, far away from Yerbury Primary School
  • Installing a green living wall which will absorb particulates and reduce air pollution impact on the school, as well as potential noise

This will minimise the air pollution, noise and visual impact on Yerbury Primary School. It should also be noted that the utilisation of a more local site than the current spokes (in Hatfield and Park Royal) would constitute a 45% reduction in the number of miles driven and a 24% reduction in CO2 emissions from Ocado deliveries – ensuring that Ocado to securing as green and sustainable site as possible.

The noise levels modelled near Yerbury Primary School would constitute a negligible increase in noise, which meets the requirements for the British Standard for noise. It is therefore not considered a meaningful impact on the surrounding area.

Safety of local school children and neighbouring residents is of paramount importance to this application. The site has been designed to limit traffic movements to the western point of the site, the furthest point away from Yerbury Primary School. There will be a negligible increase in traffic movements in the local area as a result of this site. The parking facilities will also be carefully managed to ensure that the use of private vehicles will be kept to a minimum.

Noise Levels

Ocado has conducted a noise impact assessment to determine the change in noise levels that would be generated by this site. Having taken readings of the current site, including measurements in the proximity of the local Yerbury Primary School and Wedmore Gardens, these initial findings were then modelled against predicted noise levels – from the natural gas powered HGVs delivering Ocado produce to the site; and staff car movements.

The assessment concluded that the noise at Wedmore Gardens did not exceed the background sound level recorded. It is considered therefore that no mitigation is required, however Ocado will erect an acoustic fence next to Wedmore Gardens to ensure this is the case and provide privacy for the closest Wedmore Gardens residents.

Traffic Levels

Ocado has conducted a transport assessment to assess the expected traffic movements on the local road network. This was taken by measuring the current traffic levels on local roads and then modelling the expected traffic movements from the proposed site, including the electric delivery vans, the natural gas powered LGVs and the staff parking spaces proposed.

From this assessment, it was found there will be a negligible increase in traffic movements with no significant adverse effects on the local highway network, and are therefore considered acceptable in transport terms. Ocado will also recruit staff from the local community to improve the use of sustainable travel options.