Birkenhead business is on a 65-strong UK-wide shortlist, along with the Port of Liverpool, to provide pre-assembly facilities from which four locations will eventually be selected. Tony McDonough reports
Shipyard and engineering firm Cammell Laird is stepping up its bid to provide pre-assembly facilities for the proposed £16bn third runway at Heathrow Airport.
The Birkenhead business is on a 65-strong UK-wide shortlist, along with the Port of Liverpool, from which four locations will eventually be selected.
A high-level delegation form Heathrow has visited Cammell Laird in the past few days to take a closer look at the two sites the company has put forward – Campbeltown Road and the MEA Park Wirral Waters in Beaufort Road.
The tour is visiting each location in the first half of 2018 ahead of opening a pre-qualification questionnaire process later this year, with contract awards expected in 2019, should the Government give the third runway the go-ahead.
Cammell Laird energy division managing director, Jonathan Brown, said the firm was able to bring heavyweight political support to the visit, a key factor in Heathrow’s requirements.
“We believe we have a very strong bid and to have the Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham, LEP chair Asif Hamid and chief executive Mark Basnett plus Wirral Council’s leader Phil Davies here to present to the delegation underlined just how serious we are,” he said.
“Heathrow’s expansion is a nationally significant project and we want to secure a role for our business and for the Liverpool city region. Few other companies can match our history, innovation, highly skilled workforce, supply chain, facilities and coastal location.
“We have a proven track record of being the primary contractor on major multi-million pound projects such as the RRS Sir David Attenborough polar ship.
“Our bid is fully supported by our partnership with Peel and its ports and logistics infrastructure on Merseyside.”
Merseyside’s business community is already firmly behind the bid as Heathrow has pledged a £10m fund to support regional air routes. A hub link to Heathrow is top of Liverpool John Lennon Airport’s wish-list.
Despite indicating it favours the third runway, the Government has still to make a final decision. Brexit is dominating the its agenda and the Conservatives failure to secure an overall majority in the General Election also complicates the issue.
Mr Brown added: “During the visit we were able to showcase three prime strengths that really makes our bid stand out. First, ours is a bid rooted in expertise and experience. We are not a start-up, our proposal is an extension of the services we already provide. Second, is skills.
“We took the delegation to the Engineering College, neighbouring the Cammell Laird site, and demonstrated the quality of skilled workers and training provision that the region already has in place.
“In addition, we were able to show how we could support the skills legacy of the project providing cutting edge training and creating jobs for the future.
“Our third strength is Liverpool city region’s commitment to become ‘the place’ that specialises in offsite modular construction in-line with UK’s Industrial Strategy.”