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Community welcomes Heathrow commitment to UK steel procurement

18th July 2019

Community has welcomed Heathrow as the latest signatory to the UK Steel Charter. Heathrow is the first major private sector signatory of the Charter, and it follows public sector support from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

In signing the Charter, Heathrow has committed to taking specific steps to maximise the amount of UK steel used in the project. These include:

  • Develop a future steel pipeline, detailing and publicising its future steel requirements well in advance of tendering and construction
  • Place a requirement in appropriate contracts requiring the origin of steel to be provided
  • Monitor and produce data on the levels of UK-produced steel used in the expansion

The UK Steel Charter is an important new initiative aimed at maximising the amount of UK produced steel used in UK construction and infrastructure projects. Building on pre-existing government policy in this area, the Charter asks organisations to sign up and commit to a range of simple procurement steps, ensuring decisions take into account longer term strategic sustainable aims such as economic growth, and social and environmental considerations, as well as cost. The steps will inject real transparency into procurement practices, maximising the ability of UK steel producers to compete for and win supply contracts in the UK.

Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of the steelworkers’ trade union Community, said:

“This is another welcome signatory to the UK Steel Charter. Heathrow Expansion is leading the way in the private sector in demonstrating its commitment to our steel industry.

“This is a big vote of confidence in the UK’s ability to supply steel into major infrastructure and construction projects.

“I hope other major steel consumers will follow Heathrow Expanision’s example and sign up to the UK Steel Charter.”

John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow’s Chief Executive said:

“We’re incredibly proud to be signing the UK Steel Charter today, building on our 2016 commitment to follow public sector procurement requirements for steel. Heathrow expansion is an opportunity to deliver an economic boost for all the nations and regions of the UK, and supporting the steel industry is key to achieving that.

“In addition, Heathrow will be the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of Logistics Hubs – aiming to build as much of the project offsite as possible. A number of our 18 shortlisted Logistics Hub sites are based in steel-producing communities and we hope this opportunity will boost confidence, innovation and investment in these areas.”

Commenting on Heathrow’s support, UK Steel Director General Gareth Stace said:

“We are absolutely thrilled that Heathrow Expansion has decided to sign the UK Steel Charter. Right from the start, Heathrow Expansion has been committed to ensuring that the benefits of this multi-billion pound project are felt in every corner of the United Kingdom. In signing the UK Steel Charter, Heathrow is giving steel producers the length and breadth of the UK the best possible chance of playing a major part in this exciting project.”

Deirdre Fox, Director Strategic Business Development at Tata Steel in Europe and Chair of UK Steel Procurement Committee said:

“Heathrow should be applauded for supporting strong supply chains and thereby communities across the UK as it expands its operations.

“Signing up to the UK Steel Charter will help ensure UK steel companies have the best chance to provide the hundreds of thousands of tonnes of steel needed for the expansion project.

“Supporting projects like the Heathrow Expansion is in the DNA of Tata Steel and the other UK steel companies which are ready and able to supply steel to this important project.”

In the coming months, UK Steel will be working to encourage more organisations to follow Heathrow’s examples and sign the Charter, in particular encouraging those key Government departments with oversight for major projects and spending, such the Department for Transport and the Ministry of Defence. With Heathrow Expansion now on-board, support will also be sought from other major infrastructure projects, including HS2 and offshore windfarm developers.

Community and UK Steel believe that Heathrow’s support should now act as a catalyst for others right across the UK to sign up and to use their purchasing power to support UK steel, UK manufacturing and UK jobs.

Click to find out more about the UK Steel Charter.