Scunthorpe hopes take off as town makes shortlist for Heathrow Airport expansion hubs

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 28 Mar 2019

Scunthorpe Steelworks has made the shortlist for an economy-enhancing construction hub for Heathrow’s expansion.

The British Steel site is one of two in the region to be selected from a long list, with 60 whittled down to 18.

It has already been described as an “opportunity of a generation” and included in the local economic strategy launched in Westminster by North Lincolnshire Council.

Heathrow bosses told how it “showcased a strong base of local support, the area’s thriving supply chain, convenient connectivity links and the potential to tap into a skilled workforce”.  

Welcoming the news, Gerald Reichmann, British Steel’s chief financial officer and deputy chief executive, said: “The creation of a Heathrow logistics hub at our Scunthorpe site would help drive economic regeneration throughout Yorkshire and the Humber so we’re delighted with this news. Along with the first-class location, logistics and services we can bring, one of our key strengths is the calibre of our partners and we look forward to working with them to help our region benefit from the incredible opportunity Heathrow expansion brings.”

The long-listed locations, toured last summer, 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. This autumn, British Steel and those representing Dalton Airfield Industrial Estate in North Yorkshire, will have the opportunity to pitch to the airport’s bosses for their chance to become one of the final four construction centres. They will be announced early next year, ahead of work starting in 2021.  

British Steel has extensive experience working with Network Rail on remote projects, and benefits from on-site rail, immediate motorway access and close port links. 

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.”

The final four sites will become off-site construction centres that will help to deliver Britain’s new runway bringing jobs and economic opportunities to every corner of the country. The innovative approach will also help to make the project more affordable and sustainable – by transporting assembled components in consolidated loads.

Nic Dakin, MP for Scunthorpe said: “I am delighted that the innovative British Steel-led bid for a Heathrow Logistics hub has made the final shortlist of logistics hubs announced today.  

“This is a strong vote of confidence in the British Steel workforce and management as well as the very strong relationships with local stakeholders, supply chain and customers.  The project has the potential to transform our industry and our area.”

A business summit is being scheduled to take place in York on October 24, connecting SMEs to opportunities.

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