Heathrow today announced the names and locations of the 18 shortlisted sites that remain in the running to help deliver the expanded airport, signalling the project has reached a new and significant milestone on its path to delivery.
The shortlisted sites all vary in size, location and age with Britain’s largest steelworks firm, a former Michelin Site, which at its peak was one of the company’s main manufacturing plans, Scotland’s largest airport and one of the main ports in Wales all featuring on the shortlist. But the sites have made it to this stage as they have showcased a strong base of local support, their area’s thriving supply chain, convenient connectivity links and the potential to tap into a skilled workforce.
The sites have been selected from a longlist of 65, all of which were visited during a nationwide tour which concluded in the summer of 2018. The longlisted locations were then all invited to take part in a pre-qualification questionnaire which helped to determine which sites were best placed to be involved in the delivery of Britain’s largest infrastructure project. In the autumn, the 18 sites shortlisted will now have the opportunity to pitch to the airport’s bosses for their chance to become one of the final four construction centres, to be announced early next year, ahead of work starting in 2021.
The final four sites will become offsite construction centers that will help to deliver Britain’s new runway bringing jobs and economic opportunities to every corner of the country as Heathrow looks to construct as much of the expanded airport offsite as possible. This innovative approach will also help to make the project more affordable and sustainable – by transporting assembled components in consolidated loads.
In addition to the economic opportunities, the Logistics Hubs will bring to the whole of the UK, Heathrow’s ongoing Business Summit series will also provide small businesses throughout the country the opportunity to become part of Heathrow’s supply chain ahead of expansion. The 11 summits are spread throughout various regions and nations across the country, organized in conjunction with regional business groups such as Chambers of Commerce, LEPs and the FSB, giving hundreds of SMEs access to one-on-one appointments with Heathrow’s top suppliers.
Speaking at the BCC annual conference Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion said:
“Our expansion plans are progressing apace and continue to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. Heathrow is as committed as ever to creating a plan that delivers for every corner of the UK. Logistics hubs are key to achieving that. This innovative approach will be more cost effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much needed capacity quickly and responsibly.
“Logistics hubs are also integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector. One in which we’re better utilising new technology and offsite techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.”
Claire Walker, Co-Executive Director at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:
“A strong skills base and high-performing infrastructure network are vital to securing the UK’s economic future in the long-term. We are pleased that Heathrow is consulting with so many business communities from the Chamber of Commerce Network to ensure that its expansion plans can benefit the whole of the country.
“We look forward to hearing more of these plans from Heathrow at the BCC Annual Conference.”
Heathrow will be the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of Logistics Hubs – aiming to build as much of the project offsite as possible. The hubs will work by pre-assembling components offsite before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow just as they are needed. This method will boost the project’s efficiency and cut emissions by transporting components to site in fewer lorries. Research by WPI Economics revealed that integrating an offsite manufacturing supply chain into a major project has the potential to reduce the overall cost of the project by as much as 25% whilst speeding up delivery by up to 30%.