The time has come to make opportunity happen for Wales and stake our claim on a multi-million pound supply chain for one of the most prestigious national infrastructure projects in a generation.
This will be the clarion call from the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns during a keynote speech to an audience of Welsh business leaders vying to bring a Heathrow Logistics Hub to Wales (17 May).
Representatives from Heathrow Airport have arrived in north Wales to start the Welsh leg of the nationwide search for the final four selected locations which will pre-assemble components of the expanded airport.
Six Welsh sites are in the running to host a hub which will participate in the off-site construction of a new third runway.
The UK Government and Welsh Government will work together to ensure Wales plays a key part in the airport’s supply chain, enabling Britain’s new runway to deliver a legacy of construction excellence for the nation.
Speaking at the meeting alongside Welsh Government Economy Secretary Ken Skates, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said:
“I’m delighted that Heathrow has recognised the importance of involving the whole of the UK in its expansion plans with its effort to locate its logistics hubs across the nations.
“And while the focal point of construction will be in the south east, all the pieces of this great infrastructure jigsaw will be sourced from suppliers right across the country, making this a prime example of how UK Government backing for one national project in one location can spread wealth and prosperity far and wide.
“I’m determined that we showcase the very real opportunities to be had, now and in the future, by locating a hub on Welsh soil. Let’s make sure we start as we mean to go on today – that we grasp this once in a generation opportunity for Wales, and that we exploit it to the full.”
Heathrow expansion is a critical national infrastructure project for the UK that will rely on talent from across the country. Wales stands to benefit significantly with the creation of up to 8,400 new skilled jobs and £6.4bn generated from construction through to increased tourism and exports for Wales.
In addition to this, SMEs across Wales will also have the opportunity to attend one of Heathrow’s Business Summits in Cardiff on 11 July 2018.
These summits offer small business across the country the opportunity to become part of the many opportunities that Heathrow expansion will bring. On the day, Welsh SMEs will have the opportunity to connect and trade face-to-face with Heathrow’s supply chain, to forge new connections and win business with some of the UK’s largest organisations.
Alun Cairns added: “I have seen first-hand the diversity and expertise of our supply chain in Wales and I know how much enthusiasm there is for this project across the industry.
“Yet out of the £1 billion maintenance spend year in year out at Heathrow, only 0.2% of Heathrow’s current procurement contracts come from Wales – we can and must do better than that.
“I’ll be looking forward to meeting Welsh SMEs at the next Heathrow Business Summit in Cardiff in July where they can learn of the opportunities available to them when construction begins.”