Heathrow has announced the names and locations of the 18 shortlisted sites that remain in the running to help deliver the expanded airport.
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 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 centres that will help to deliver Britain’s new runway as Heathrow looks to construct as much of the expanded airport offsite as possible.
It is hoped the approach will also help to make the project more affordable and sustainable – by transporting assembled components in consolidated loads.
Speaking at the BCC annual conference, Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow 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.”