The British Property Federation has announced plans to investigate the economic and environmental impacts of tall buildings.

It said that schemes such as the Shard had kicked off debate in London about whether such buildings should be allowed. The issue has even been raised in the London Mayoral election.

Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said: ‘Unfortunately, little work has been done on these latter aspects and it was to fill this gap that the BPF recently commissioned some independent research from the consultants, Colin Buchanan.

‘Any debate in this area does, of course, have to differentiate between the case for higher levels of density and the need for tall buildings. High density can be achieved in various ways - by groundscrapers as well as skyscrapers.

‘There is a need, therefore, to look first at the potential benefits of high density development – which might include greater working efficiency and the ability to focus employment in sustainable locations around transport nodes - before going on to consider whether there are certain situations where such benefits can only be delivered by building tall.

‘It is crucial that arguments about these issues should become more evidence based and I hope that our report – which should be available before the summer - will contribute to that process.'