This week, a delegation from Heathrow Airport will visit Sheffield City Region (SCR) as part of a nationwide tour of the 65 sites still in the running to be construction centres for Heathrow expansion.
Eight sites across the city region have been longlisted as potential “Logistics Hubs”, which will help ensure that businesses across the UK can form part of the airport’s supply chain. Components of the airport will be pre-assembled before being transported in consolidated loads to the airport.
During each visit, the prospective Logistics Hub will have the opportunity to demonstrate the strengths of their proposal. The delegation will visit all longlisted locations in the first half of 2018, assessing their suitability before putting successful bids through to the next round.
Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said: “It’s great news that we as a city region have more shortlisted sites than any other region in the UK. This is testament to our super-connected location and our excellence in advanced engineering, manufacturing and logistics.
“During these visits, we will be demonstrating all the reasons why we think our sites would be an ideal location for one of Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs. Not only do we already have the infrastructure in place, but our city region is home to a skilled workforce with a strong heritage of manufacturing and industry. Key to this is the AMRC training centre, widely regarded as a centre of excellence in producing apprentices ready to enter careers in engineering and manufacturing.
“This is a great opportunity for us as a city region to be part of one the UK’s most significant infrastructure projects. We welcome the potential boost in jobs and economic growth that a Logistics Hub could bring and look forward to showcasing our sites to the delegation.”
Sites in Sheffield City Region include Ashroyd Business Park and Enterprise 36 in Barnsley; the iPort, Unity and Doncaster Sheffield Airport/Aero Centre in Doncaster, the Laing O’Rourke Explore Industrial Park in Worksop, and 31 East and the former Maltby Colliery in Rotherham.
During the visit, the Heathrow delegation will also visit the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) with Boeing, and meet with representatives from the SCR and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Sheffield City Region submitted bids because we believe we are a site of national logistics and engineering excellence and have the knowledge, infrastructure and quality to deliver.
Site options put forward include locations with rail connectivity to London and other regional logistics hubs, while there are also six world-class universities and research capabilities within a one-hour drive. These include the AMRC, which is the leading engineering research and training facility in the UK.
Rachel Clark, director of trade and investment at Sheffield City Region, said: “Working in partnership with the public and private sector, SCR is already achieving transformational change and building a thriving, successful, economy.
“Our vision is focused on rebalancing the North- South divide and spreading the benefit of major UK infrastructure projects to regenerate our region. I know the quality exists here to make a success of significant investments such as this, and am hopeful that we will be selected as one of the final four locations.
“We are looking forward to working closely with Heathrow on this exciting project which could give a massive boost to our local economy on the back of our recent inward investment successes.”
Logistics Hubs aim to ensure that the planned Heathrow expansion delivers for the whole of the UK by spreading jobs, boosting productivity and modernising the construction industry outside of London and the South East. Around 60% of procurement spend will be outside of London, spreading the benefits of local investment up and down the country.
Heathrow has also begun working with infrastructure companies to explore how the final sites could be used for future projects, creating a long lasting legacy.
Lord Deighton, Chairman at Heathrow Airport said: “Heathrow expansion is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the UK construction industry, build for the future and deliver a lasting skills legacy for future generations.
“All of this comes at a pivotal time for our country, as it prepares itself to leave the EU and where we need to build for our future in both travel and trade.
“An expanded Heathrow is for all of Britain and the Logistics Hubs are instrumental in our aim to ensure that expansion spreads the huge potential of its £187bn in economic benefits across the UK, whilst minimising the impact on the airport’s local communities.
“Off-site construction is an innovative way for these balances to be met and we can’t wait to see for ourselves the opportunity we have in working with the best businesses in the country.”