Amsterdam to ban super fast distribution centres from residential areas

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

Amsterdam city council is planning to ban all fast delivery distribution centres from residential areas, apart from in exceptional situations.

The distribution centres, known as dark stores because of their covered windows, are scattered all over the city so the companies can meet their pledge to deliver food and drink in a matter of minutes.

The city has already placed a one year moratorium on new ‘dark stores’ and officials now say that in principle, they will no longer be allowed in residential areas because of the ‘negative effects’.

Officials will now draw up an inventory of all dark stores in the city, thought to number around 30, and decide on an individual basis if they can remain open. Diemen and Amstelveen are working on similar rules.

Potential reasons for closure include noise, disturbances at night and the use of public space.

Applications to open distribution centres on business estates and industrial areas will be assessed using the same criteria, council officials said.

In April, Amsterdam city council ordered three distribution centres operated by super fast food delivery firms to close down because they conflict with zoning plans. All three are located in the popular Pijp district.

Working conditions

Earlier this month, social affairs ministry inspectors issued a damning report about super fast delivery companies, saying they regularly break laws meant to protect their workers against injury and exploitation.

In addition, their distribution centres are often located in old buildings which are not suitable as storage spaces, which presents a risk to riders’ health and safety, the inspectors say.

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