Amsterdam bans dark stores from residential areas


Amsterdam is banning Q-commerce and food delivery companies from setting up dark stores in residential areas, the local city council decided May 10th, citing noise and nuisance complaints from the public.

Dark stores, small distribution hubs used by burgeoning fast grocery services such as Flink and Getir, will only be allowed in business parks, or – in exceptional cases – in mixed residential-work areas.

“Amsterdammers will receive a nicer living environment”, Reinier van Dantzig, the municipal executive responsible for the city’s spatial planning, said in a statement, adding the new policy would help tackle the proliferation of delivery drivers in residential areas.

Rapid delivery services in Amsterdam are only allowed to establish themselves in business parks and no longer in residential areas. In very exceptional cases, dark stores will be permitted in mixed residential and work areas. The city council approved a zoning plan to that effect on Wednesday. The decision means that approximately ten branches in the city will likely have to close their doors or move eventually.

According to a Getir spokesperson, there is a great need for their services in Amsterdam, and over 250,000 locals have placed orders. “Unfortunately, the municipality has ignored these points. This zoning plan discriminates. It treats our sector differently from comparable services that also deliver.”

Getir pointed out that the company adapted in recent years and that independent research showed that rapid delivery services have no more or less impact on the living environment than comparable services. “We will continue to fight for equal treatment, and we will continue to focus on this in our next steps,” said the spokesperson.

Earlier in May, Getir and Flink jointly announced a tightened code of conduct “to be able to properly address the wishes of local residents and municipalities, such as a point of contact per store, more attention to public space, and further rules of conduct for staff.” They also set an 18 years age limit on delivery drivers.

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