Major distribution 'hotspots' have been highlighted in the Midlands, with calls for a high proportion of warehouses in close proximity to urban areas.
The hotspots are due to the effect of the Road Transport Directive, according to new research from property firm NAI Fuller Peiser and the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The research was undertaken three months after the RTD came into practice on April 1, and shows that 33 per cent of respondents believe that distribution centres need to be relocated.
This compares to just 19 per cent in March. In addition, 40 per cent of respondents believe that there is a need to move these facilities closer to urban areas, a rise of 12 per cent from the March forecast results.
Since the second batch of research results, NAI Fuller Peiser and the FTA have noticed that as companies become more compliant to the directive, their property requirements are becoming more obvious or are changing from what they had initially forecast prior to the directive.
However, an interesting difference in the results for the Midlands region shows that fewer businesses since the March results think that smaller, strategically located distribution centres will be a new trend.
Most other regions saw a rise in this response from March but the Midlands had a fall of 15 per cent from 58 per cent before the directive was implemented. However, 43 per cent that now think this will be a trend is considerably above other regions' opinion, showing that it is still a major concern in the Midlands.
More than 20 per cent of the survey's respondents are Midlands-based companies.
Tim Suffield, head of industrial agency at NAI Fuller Peiser's Birmingham office, said: "With almost a third of companies in the Midlands believing that the RTD has affected their need to relocate distribution facilities and over half of companies believing that there should be an increase in these facilities closer to urban areas, there are some real development opportunities - particularly surrounding the 'hotspots' we have identified, such as Staffordshire and the M5 and M42 corridors."
He added: "Furthermore, the number of companies that believe the Midlands needs more distribution facilities closer to urban areas has risen from 31 per cent in March, to a huge 52 per cent three months after the directive has been implemented.
"This shows that the directive's effects have been massively underestimated.
"However, the research that comes out in October, six months on, will be more telling - giving us an even more comprehensive idea of what areas are most affected by the Road Transport Directive and what new property requirements these companies will have in response."
James Hookham, deputy chief executive of the Freight Transport Association, also said: "These findings reveal that the transport and logistics sector is becoming aware of the need to examine property requirements as part of their strategy for remaining fully compliant with the directive.
"As many other aspects fall into place, it will become increasingly obvious that it is important to have the right property in the right location and with the right facilities - and at the right price."
Further quarterly reports on the Road Transport Directive will be published in October 2005 and February 2006.