Heathrow press releases

12 September, 2016

Heathrow to save 700 jobs in embattled UK steel industry

T2 Construction


  • Expanded Heathrow needs 370,000 tonnes of UK steel – equivalent to building 30 Shards or 16 Wembley stadia – securing 700 British steel jobs
  • Seven northern Labour MPs demand Heathrow expansion be included in Government’s upcoming industrial strategy
  • Influential steelworkers’ union Community declares support for expanded Heathrow, urges immediate approval of project to protect UK steelmaking

Seven Labour MPs representing steel communities across the North have called on Business Secretary Greg Clark to get on with Heathrow expansion after the airport revealed it expected to need 370,000 tonnes of steel to build its new terminals in the early 2020s – representing 10% of the UK’s 2015 steel output and the equivalent of building 30 new Shards or 16 Wembley stadia.

The airport has already pledged to follow the new public sector procurement rules regarding steel purchasing and new research released today by economic consultancy QUOD concluded that the tonnage required for an expanded Heathrow could sustain 700 jobs across the UK. This is welcome news for communities such as Scunthorpe, Port Talbot and Teesside – all areas that have lived with the threat of devastating job losses as firms pledge to close down UK steel plants. 

Responding to the research, the UK steelworkers’ union Community today backed Heathrow’s expansion plans as vital for the long-term future of the UK’s steel industry.


Roy Rickhuss of Community said:

“Theresa May has a real opportunity to deliver on her promise to build a better, fairer Britain by backing Heathrow expansion and securing a long-term future for British steel. It’s absolutely critical that we don’t stonewall private infrastructure projects that are going to stimulate demand for our steel. 

“Heathrow expansion is a ready-to-go project that could secure 700 UK steel jobs. Our steel communities are looking to government to secure their future, Heathrow expansion can be the first step in that long term industrial strategy we desperately need.”


Community joins the GMB and top steel constituency MPs from across the country to call on Clark to include Heathrow expansion in his hotly anticipated industrial strategy for steel and to pressure Government colleagues to get on with approving a decision.


Gareth Stace, Director, UK Steel, said:

“By committing to use UK steel Heathrow is not only supporting the industry at a critical time, it is also setting an important precedent for all major infrastructure and construction projects in Britain. UK produced steel is high quality and competitively priced, and it supports thousands of jobs and communities. A revitalised steel industry is one of the key foundations Britain will need if we are to secure our place as a global trading powerhouse in a post-Brexit world.”


Tim Roache GMB Union, General Secretary said:

"The amount of steel that will be required to build this major project will be a much needed boost for the UK Steel Industry, steel workers and their communities. This is another good reason why the UK government needs to make a decision quickly in support of Heathrow expansion."


 Redcar MP Anna Turley, whose constituency has been a major force in the British steel industry, said: 

“Unions, MPs and manufacturers are clear that an expanded Heathrow will kick-start growth across the UK – particularly for steel communities currently under threat from mass job losses. In the wake of Brexit putting years of economic uncertainty on the horizon, we need to say yes to projects like Heathrow which will create thousands of jobs and show Britain is serious about its future.”


Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: 

“If the Prime Minister greenlights expansion of Heathrow, the biggest privately funded construction project in the UK, she will help create jobs up and down the country.  In the steel industry alone, we will support up to 700 skilled jobs by ordering up to 370,000 tonnes of high quality steel.  Heathrow expansion will be the cornerstone of the UK’s economy.” 





Notes to editors: 

The full research from independent economic consultancy QUOD is attached for download. 

The full letter from MPs to the Business Secretary is copied below:


Dear Secretary of State,


We urge you to include Heathrow expansion as a cornerstone of your industrial strategy for steel.

You will be aware that earlier this year, Heathrow signed up to the Government’s public procurement rules for steel, pledging to advertise requirements for steel in the UK, and to take into account the socio-economic impact of the steel sourced across all major future projects.

In correspondence to us, Heathrow have confirmed that expansion would require an estimated 370,000 tonnes of steel to build its new runway and terminal buildings. Independent economic analysis suggests this could sustain an estimated 700 jobs in the steel industry over a five year period from 2021.

Infrastructure can save our steel industry in every corner of the UK. Welsh steel helped build The Shard and Crossrail, steel from Scunthorpe built the Olympic Stadium, and you won’t need to be told that steel from Teesside built the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Heathrow’s Terminal 5, as well as the iconic Transporter Bridge in your hometown.

As a Teesside man, you know how high quality jobs in steel can support an entire town. The Government has sat on its hands while Chinese ‘dumping’ has shattered the British steel industry. Backing big infrastructure that wants to buy UK steel can be the start of our fightback.

Your colleagues have pledged to make a decision on Heathrow in October. The UK steel sector is missing a known infrastructure pipeline. By backing Heathrow you will be making a statement of intent, a decision in the national interest, and a first step in reviving a modern and sustainable British steel sector.


Yours sincerely,


Sir Kevin Barron MP (Rother Valley)

Tom Blenkinsop MP (Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland)

Sarah Champion MP (Rotherham) 

Kevan Jones MP (North Durham)

Jonathan Reynolds MP (Stalybridge and Hyde)

Angela Smith MP (Penistone and Stockbridge)

Anna Turley MP (Redcar)