Offsite manufacturing is set to play a major role in the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
The Heathrow project will pioneer the large-scale use of logistics hubs, where components will be pre-assembled offsite before being transported to the airport in consolidated loads when they are needed.
Using offsite manufacturing will reduce the overall cost of the expansion project and cut emissions in the local area, the airport owners claim.
They argue that the logistics hubs will revolutionise the construction sector and create a new industry for the UK which can then use its expertise to support other major projects around the world.
A campaign to identify suitable sites for the hubs has received 121 responses from across the UK. Although the majority are from England, bids have also been received from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Once the bids have been sifted, a list of potential sites is expected to be announced later this year. Applicants will need to demonstrate that siting a logistics hub in their area will have a positive economic impact locally as well as offering good connectivity, access to an appropriate supply chain, regional support and what Heathrow terms “adequate facilities”.
Following an agreement with the Scottish Government, one logistics hub is to be based in Scotland.
Describing the expansion project as “a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really boost growth across Britain”, Heathrow’s CEO John Holland-Kaye praised the communities that have put themselves forward to host one of the hubs.
“Together we’ll build an expanded Heathrow – boosting growth outside London, leaving a world-class construction legacy for the UK and delivering expansion faster, cheaper and with less impact on our local communities,” he added.