Britain’s steel industry received a major boost today when Heathrow Airport chiefs backed a blueprint to revive the sector.
Executives from the transport hub signed the UK Steel Charter, which plans to maximise the use of British metals in major projects.
The airport’s £14billion, third runway scheme will use an estimated 370,000 tonnes of steel – offering a mammoth windfall for the fragile industry.
Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye 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.”
UK Steel director 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.”
The Mirror exclusively revealed in May how UK Steel was calling on ministries, big infrastructure schemes and leading companies to sign the first Steel Charter.
The Business Department and the Scottish and Welsh Governments backed the plan, alongside local authorities, RenewableUK and UK Onshore Oil & Gas.
The Charter is a boost for the Mirror’s Save Our Steel campaign, waged amid thousands of job losses and plant closures in 2015.
Supporters hope today’s announcement by Heathrow could inspire other major firms to sign up.
Community steelworkers’ union general secretary Roy Rickhuss 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 into major infrastructure and construction projects.
“I hope other major steel consumers will follow Heathrow Expansion’s example and sign up to the UK Steel Charter.”
Tata Steel’s director of strategic business development Deirdre Fox, chairwoman of UK Steel’s procurement committee, said: “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.”
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