Heathrow Airport's third runway: Construction industry reacts to landmark MP vote
A project that has bee...
UK MPs overwhelmingly backed a proposal to expand London’s Heathrow Airport, passing the motion with a majority of 296 votes.
A project that has been subject to controversy and shelved numerous times over the past two decades, the building of a third runway will unlock 100,000 jobs and generate a big economic injection, according to its proponents.
The Confederation of British Industry hailed the vote as “a truly historic decision that will open the doors to a new era in the UK's global trading relationships”.
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It was also welcomed by major players in the construction industry, including Turner & Townsend, a global consultancy firm specialising in the sector.
David Whysall, Managing Director of UK infrastructure at Turner & Townsend, commented: “The expansion will be the UK’s largest privately funded construction project, generating thousands of jobs and business opportunities nationwide, boosting passenger and cargo capacity, and forging new links around the world.
Whysall also says that the project has the potential to shake up and benefit the UK construction industry more widely.
He added: “It’s an opportunity to challenge the way we have delivered infrastructure in the past and forge a new sustainable industry model – one which provides a legacy of new skills in digital, manufacturing and off-site assembly, with expertise formed throughout the construction supply chain, and shows that the UK is a world leader in setting up and delivering major projects.
“It will act as a beacon for attracting and retaining talent in the sector at a time when we face an acute skills crisis.”
Other options for expanding London’s airport capacity which have been rejected include a second runway at Gatwick Airport and a new airport on the Thames Estuary, a project dubbed Boris Island after being championed by the current Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Henry Boot, Factory form joint venture with £1bn scheme
The property development business of Henry Boot (HBD) has announced it has formed a joint venture with international tech campus developer Factory as part of a £1bn scheme known as the Golden Valley Development.
Called HBD X Factory, the joint venture has been chosen to deliver the first phase of the scheme based in Cheltenham, which aims to focus on the development of technology in the UK. Centered around cyber and digital innovation, the development will include 3,700 new homes and 2mn sq ft of commercial space. Phase 1 aims to accommodate 111 acres of the scheme and will be located close to Factory’s first UK tech building near GCHQ.
Confirming the UK as a leader in cybersecurity
Minister for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman, said the £1bn development would help confirm the UK’s position as a leader in cybersecurity: “We are investing to help cyber-security businesses across the country tackle barriers to growth and boost people’s digital skills so we can usher in a golden age in UK tech.”
Commenting on the partnership, HBD Managing Director Ed Hutchinson said: “The HBD X Factory partnership reflects our focus on delivering large-scale, transformative regeneration projects – the Golden Valley Development is a hugely important project for Cheltenham, the South West region and the wider UK tech sector and we look forward to working alongside Factory to bring the scheme forward.”
It is expected that Client Cheltenham Borough Council will submit a planning application for the site in 2022 with Tewksbury Borough Council as a partner. Discussing future plans for the partnership, Henry Boot said the new JV would “focus on developing large-scale mixed-use districts and urban regeneration projects.”
Image: Henry Boot