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Heathrow delegation visits West Cumbria on nationwide tour of potential news hubs

The Heathrow delegation at the former Alcan site at Lillyhall.

Today, a delegation from Heathrow Airport visited West Cumbria as part of a nationwide tour of 65 sites, still in the running to be construction centres for Heathrow expansion.

‘Logistics Hubs’ will help ensure that businesses across the UK can form part of the airport’s supply chain, enabling Heathrow’s new runway to deliver a legacy of construction excellence across the UK.

Heathrow representatives will have visited eight sites across the North West. 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 by the end of July 2018, assessing their suitability before putting successful bids through to the next round.

Heathrow expansion is a critical national infrastructure project for the UK that is expected to deliver up to £16bn in economic benefits and 15,300 jobs across the North West.

This announcement comes after the long-awaited parliamentary vote, in which a majority of MPs voted in support of the new runway, clearing the way for Heathrow expansion to become Government policy, marking the end of the debate on the new runway and granting permission for the project’s delivery. These continued site visits are just one of the ways that Heathrow is working to kick start the delivery of one of the UK’s largest infrastructure projects.

Heathrow is pioneering Logistics Hubs, where components of the airport will be pre-assembled before being transported in consolidated loads to the airport. Logistics Hubs are essential in ensuring Heathrow expansion delivers for the whole country by spreading jobs, boosting productivity and modernising the construction industry outside of London and the South East. They will ensure that 60% of procurement spend will be outside of London, spreading the benefits of local investment up and down the country.

As well as the direct benefits, new research from WPI Economics shows that, if adopted more widely, the approach could spur growth in off-site construction and lead to a productivity boost worth £30 billion for the industry outside of London by 2025.

Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs feature in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, listed as an example of how to develop skills across the UK and create conditions where successful businesses can emerge. 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 for Britain.

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 £187 billion 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.”

Jamie Reed, Sellafield Ltd’s head of corporate affairs, hosted the visit. He said: “This is a great example of us working in collaboration with local authorities and our supply chain together to create opportunities for economic development in our communities.

“It is very early days, but the Heathrow delegation were impressed by the levels of skills in manufacturing and engineering that we already have in West Cumbria, much of which is engaged in our supply chain at Sellafield. They were also interested to learn more about the capability that we are able to grow through the world class educational facilities at Lillyhall, with the Construction Skills Academy, National College for Nuclear, Lakes College and Gen2.

“Above all else, they were impressed that we were able to demonstrate the partnership working that a major development like this would require.”

Sue Hayman, MP for Workington, said: “It is great to be on the longlist and to have had the opportuinity to demonstrate all the reasons we think West Cumbria would be an ideal location for one of Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs.”

Mark Fryer, Deputy Leader of Allerdale Borough Council, said: “This is a great opportunity for us as an organisation to be part of one the UK’s most significant infrastructure projects, and we want to contribute to Heathrow’s construction excellence legacy and the many other benefits Heathrow expansion will bring – West Cumbria is the perfect place for a development like this.”

Pat Graham, Chief Executive of Copeland Borough Council, said: “We are really pleased to work together with our neighbours in Allerdale on what could, potentially, be a major coup for the whole of West Cumbria.”

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