The UK’s warehouse property stock will have vanished by the end of the decade due to demands from internet retailers, unless there is an unprecedented increase in construction.

This is the conclusion in a logistics market report, which also found that warehousing space fell to a record low last year.

Consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) said retailer and distributor requirements for logistics warehouses will exceed the country’s available stock by 7.6 million m2 by 2020 - even if current elevated levels of new development continue.

Steve Williams, LSH national head of industrial and logistics, said: “E-commerce in the UK is not just growing rapidly, but it’s also evolving as retailers attempt to satisfy consumer demand ever more quickly and efficiently. This is resulting in unprecedented demand for strategically located logistics warehouse space across many parts of the country.

“Unless developers start building warehouses at a rate that we haven’t witnessed during the 20 years I've been working in the sector, or major occupiers like Amazon are prepared to wait 12 months for delivery by building it themselves, we could run out of logistics space before the end of the decade. That has serious implications for internet retailing.”

The UK Warehousing Association, which represents the interests of 700 logistics companies and suppliers, said it fully endorsed the findings by LSH. “UKWA has long urged policy makers to legislate to allow for the growth of warehousing space or risk developing a critical pinch point for UK industry,” said CEO Peter Ward.

“We know that 20% of the UK’s warehouse property stock is not fit-for-purpose and failure to address these shortfalls now will negatively impact the UK economy.”

“UKWA is working hard to convince policy makers to acknowledge the importance of the logistics industry and to commit to schemes which allow for the growth of the space required for our industry to continue delivering,” he said.