Heathrow airport delegation flies in to visit Michelin site in Ballymena

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Daniel Platt, External Relations, Heathrow Hub, Ritchie Kelly, Technical, Heathrow Hub and Chris Howe, Procurement Heathrow Hub are pictured with Anne Donaghy, Chief Executive, Mid and East Antrim Council, Lindsay Millar, Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Council and Ian Paisley MP at the Michelin site in Ballymena today. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

A delegation from Heathrow Airport has visited three sites, promoted by Mid and East Antrim, and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Councils, in Northern Ireland as part of a nationwide tour of 65 sites still in the running to be the offsite 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.

The sites at Michelin, Global Point and Belfast International Airport, are three of six that Heathrow representatives have visited across the region over the last few months.

During each visit, the prospective Logistics Hub will have the opportunity to demonstrate the strengths of their proposal. Heathrow representatives will visit all longlisted locations in the first half of 2018, and aim to open a pre-qualification questionnaire process later this year.

Heathrow expansion is a critical national infrastructure project for the UK that is expected to deliver up to £5bn in economic benefits and 5,000 jobs across Northern Ireland.

This announcement is the latest major milestone in the delivery of Heathrow expansion, and comes ahead of an expected Parliamentary vote on the policy framework.

On Tuesday (5 June), Cabinet ministers gave their backing to the proposed new runway at Heathrow.

They signed off the plans after they were approved by the Government’s economic sub-committee.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the decision was being taken in the national interest and would benefit the whole of the UK – with 15% of new landing slots at the airport “facilitating” regional connectivity.

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 other major infrastructure companies to explore how the final sites could be used for future projects.

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.”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Lindsay Millar, said: “It’s great to be longlisted and we will be demonstrating all the reasons County Antrim would be an ideal location for one of Heathrow’s Logistics Hubs. This is a great opportunity for us 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.”

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Paul Michael, said: “We are delighted to have two sites shortlisted in the bid to secure one of the four Heathrow Logistics Hubs. This initiative represents a unique opportunity to help to deliver an efficient and affordable expansion of Heathrow, whilst leaving behind a lasting economic legacy for Northern Ireland. Our offer is built upon the excellent transport network that connects us with Heathrow by road, rail, sea and air and the outstanding supply chain of local companies that can support the expansion.”

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