1. How will the West Midlands Interchange transform the market over the next twenty years?
The West Midlands Interchange (WMI) is one of the most exciting of the most exciting projects for the logistics market in the UK, which we are delivering as an ambitious partnership between Logistics Capital Partners (LCP) and Oxford Properties (OP). As a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, it will be a leader in regard to the modernisation of the logistics space. The WMI is not only the largest rail-served logistics development in the UK, but it will also deliver c. 743,224m2 (8 million sq ft) of new logistics space which will be directly connected to the West Coast Main Line. Having a logistics space of the size of the WMI on the spine of the rail and road networks is invaluable to the sector the UK economy.
WMI will be a facilitator for the pro-environment transformation of the logistics industry and open the door for a large-scale expansion of the rail freight sector and, as a result, a huge reduction in carbon output. Every single freight train has the potential to remove up to 76 HGVs from the road. As rail freight becomes more efficient and affordable, the electrification of more of the UK’s rail network will come with it and, in the long term, allow us to hit our national Net Zero targets. Our ambition is the WMI project will allow us to prove just how far it is possible to go in regard to net zero construction.
2. What are the main challenges of working in the industry right now?
Working in the logistics industry can often be challenging, but it is that challenge which forces us to innovate and become the most efficient and effective industry leader that we can be. Whether it is inflationary pressures driving us to be clear about our goals and ensure that we clamp down on waste or ambitious net zero climate targets, the challenges of the industry will always be met in equal measure by the resilience, ambition, and innovation of our workforce.
Just recently, LCP developed a c. 167,225m2 (1.8 million sq ft) facility that achieved a ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ platinum rating, proving that it is possible to build one of the highest-rated buildings in Europe, at scale.
3. What is driving your decisions in the current economic climate?
At LCP, we continuously strive to innovate and improve every aspect of our business. With the current economic climate, congested energy supply issues, and inflationary challenges, we have optimized our operations and committed to transitioning away from fossil fuels and towards electrification and renewables to promote environmental sustainability.
The WMI project is a crucial part of this transition, as it aims to hasten the fuel transition of the UK logistics industry towards rail and electric vehicles. To make the WMI site more environmentally friendly, we are exploring several options such as aiming for BREEAM Excellent energy ratings, installing PV panels on all buildings, and exploring the potential for ‘green walls’. This project will also bring much-needed private investment into the West Midlands, creating job opportunities and boosting the local economy. As a company, we believe in involving the community in our projects.
That's why we are proud to have committed to creating 441,107m2 (109 acres) of community parks that the public has been involved in designing. Our senior team is always available to discuss and resolve any issues with local stakeholders that may arise.
4. What role does sustainability play in your investment approach?
Sustainability is at the heart of our investment approach and part of our core values as LCP and OP. Our commitment to eco-consciousness has earned us a reputation in Europe, where we have offices and projects in 6 countries. We have partnered with Construction Carbon to gain a deeper understanding of the carbon impact of our developments at every stage of their construction. This enables us to achieve Embodied Carbon Net Zero quickly and effectively. As a leader in sustainability, we have undertaken carbon lifecycle assessments of c. 641,031m2 (6.9 million sq ft) of new developments since 2021.
Our efforts have resulted in the development of the first embodied carbon-neutral logistics building in mainland Europe in 2021, totalling c. 641,030m2 (1.7 million sq ft). We have also received accreditation for a further c. 278,709m2 (3 million sq ft) of our projects. In 2023, we will achieve our first accreditation for 'embodied carbon net zero" for c. 209,031m2 (2.25 million sq ft). Our goal is to apply this same ambition and experience to WMI across the c. 743,224m2 (8m sq ft) of consented new logistics warehousing.