Video: Could plans to build part of Heathrow's new runway here take off?
The Mansfield and Worksop area could play a big part in building Heathrow Airport's new runway.
If the Explore Industrial Park near Worksop is selected as one of four logistics hubs for the Heathrow project it could produce thousands of jobs at hundreds of businesses around the area.
Political and business leaders were invited by owners construction company Laing O’Rourke to discuss the area’s potential for growth and development.
Heathrow Airport is waiting for final approval for the new runway it has been seeking for decades and MPS are expected to vote before the summer recession.
The visit brought together leaders from local politics and business for a tour of the offsite manufacturing and logistics facility as well as a roundtable discussion to explore how the sectors could collaborate, what the opportunities are within the region and why Explore Industrial Park would serve as a key partner, to Heathrow’s expansion.
As a logistics hub, Explore Industrial Park has the potential to bring an integrated regional supply chain together to develop and deliver a “kit of parts” that could be manufactured, assembled and transported in sequence to Heathrow’s third runway project; as well as potentially to High Speed 2, Hinkley Point C, East-West rail and other major UK-wide infrastructure projects.
Local politicians including John Mann MP for Bassetlaw and Ben Bradley MP for Mansfield were provided with an insight into how Explore Industrial Park could support regional plans such as the Midlands Engine, D2N2 and Sheffield City Region’s local enterprise partnerships as well as the UK’s Industrial Strategy for Construction, generating a sustainable pipeline of work that would enable growth to SMEs and suppliers in the region.
East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) also supported the event, highlighting the need for local engagement and provision of a stronger regional skill base and greater number of jobs. Laing O’Rourke’s commitment to the local area and its neighbouring supply chain continues; last year it used 450 suppliers within 100 miles of the facility.
Stephen Harley, director of Advanced Manufacturing, Laing O’Rourke said: “The visit to Explore Industrial Park comes at a key time for the region, and as one of Worksop’s biggest employers, we wanted to use this as a chance to drive local discussion and collaboration with key stakeholders.
“Innovative approaches to construction have received Government backing for some time and it’s vital that major projects such as the Heathrow expansion embrace the technology and work with those who are at the forefront of business, politics and the community.”
Emma Rigler, logistics leader at Laing O’Rourke added: “The Heathrow project will be a very large project which will go on for along time.
“We are a main contractor, we work as an integrator - we have an integrated supply chain and a very strong technical capability.
“We are a proven model , overseeing design transport, manufacture and assembly.
“There’s a commitment from Heathrow to support SMEs not just large scale suppliers.
Manchester airport has almost been configured out of products made at this factory and the surrounding supply chain.
The work we did there shows how social and economic benefits can be kept local to the area.
“So even though we are a UK wide and global contractor we are very well versed in making sure that the region in which we are building prospers.
We have an active regional supply base , 2,000 suppliers within 100 miles radius, which could be part of this integrated supply chain.
The 30 acre facility was developed in 2015 and boasts the most modern concrete factory in Europe.
It has seen £150 million of investment and even more will be invested as a new modular housing facility is developed.
Ms Rigler said: “we have created more than 400 jobs 85 per cent of our workforce are local 75 per cent of the materials are local
“We have apprenticeships coming through and excellent STEM work creating the engineers of the future.”
Bassetlaw MP John Mann said: “I am a big supporter of expanding Heathrow Airport getting another runway and using it as a way to keep this country as a world leader. Heathrow needs to have partners across the county and rather than have all this business located in the South or Englandthey are spreading where it goes and there is nowhere better with better skills infrastructure and communications and track record than here.
“This is about the people who have proven with this company on this location to be able to deliver over the last 10 years. Laing O’Rourke does massive infrastructure on a world scale.
“It’s perfectly located, it’s got the investment the technology and the people. I and the whole community here totally support it.”
Mansfield MP Ben Bradley said: “This could be a fantastic thing. It’s odd to say that Heathrow might be a big opportunity for jobs in North Nottinghamshire but there is the opportunity to create skilled manufacturing jobs that are the kind of thing my constituents are after.
“We have got to get the vote for Heathrow expansion through in Parliament but there’s a huge opportunity here for a hub for manufacturing some aspects of that runway - engineering skilled manufacturing and logistics there wuold be hundreds of jobs and an opportunity to link up in the future with hS2 at Chesterfield and a big economic hub for the region.
Chris Hobson, the East Midland’s Chamber’s Director of Policy, said: “Heathrow has a huge supply chain involving companies and organisations all over the country which, in turn, sustains thousands of jobs here in the East Midlands and beyond.
“The expansion at the airport will create a raft of opportunities for further jobs creation and it will be at sites like Explore Industrial Park and through Tier 1 elements of the supply chain, such as Laing O’Rourke, that small and medium-sized enterprises can get involved in this nationally-important infrastructure project.
“It will provide a great opportunity for North Nottinghamshire to underline the expertise the area has in offsite construction and it’s also a chance to link major national projects as nearby Staveley, in North Derbyshire, is currently being considered for an integral role in the construction of HS2.”
Heathrow Airport’s expansion will utilise four logistics hubs across the UK, to ensure the project benefits from offsite construction, a method that has the potential to reduce the overall cost of the project by 25 per cent whilst speeding up delivery by 30 per cent In the first half of 2018, representatives from Heathrow Airport will be visiting all 65 locations that were listed in November 2017.