Will Norfolk port play major role in building Heathrow’s third runway?

Heathrow Airport. Picture: Hannah McKay/PA Wire

Heathrow Airport. Picture: Hannah McKay/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Norfolk could be set for a soaraway jobs bonanza thanks to a high profile visit that will see Great Yarmouth bid to play a major part in the construction of a third runway for Heathrow Airport.

A map showing the shortlisted logistic hub locations.Picture: Heathrow Airports Limited

A map showing the shortlisted logistic hub locations.Picture: Heathrow Airports Limited - Credit: Archant

Today Heathrow Airport CEO John Holland-Kaye will visit the town’s harbour operator, Peel Ports, to see if it is perfectly placed to reap the benefits of the £14bn construction scheme.

Peel Ports is one of 65 locations vying to become a logistics hub for the construction of the runway.

If the company is named as a one of the four national hubs it will see components of the airport expansion pre-assembled in Yarmouth before being transported in what are called “consolidated loads” to the airport.

While it is still unclear how many jobs a hub may create in Norfolk, Heathrow Airport says the expansion is set to create up to 12,900 new jobs and generate up to £15bn of economic benefits across the east of England.

Peel Ports site. Picture: Richard Goffin

Peel Ports site. Picture: Richard Goffin - Credit: Archant

The business case for Peel Ports is being strongly supported by the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the local enterprise partnership, said: “It’s no surprise to see Peel Ports on Heathrow’s long list for potential logistics hubs sites. The port’s combination of outstanding existing facilities, expansion plans and local skills make a compelling case. We’re pleased to back Peel Ports’ bid, with the promise of new jobs and growth for Great Yarmouth that it brings.”

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Nova Fairbank, public affairs manager at the chamber of commerce, said: “We have a strong, dynamic and innovative business community that is well able to contribute to and support the Heathrow expansion.

“With the forthcoming improvements along the A47 and the building of the Great Yarmouth Third River crossing, Peel Ports is ideally located to offer an excellent base for the logistics hub and a successful bid will not only create jobs and supply chain opportunities for local companies but will further support economic growth in our region.”

Mr Holland-Kaye will be joined on the tour by Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis. Great Yarmouth and Peterborough are the only locations in the east of England to be shortlisted as hubs.

Ahead of the visit Richard Goffin, port director at Peel Ports Great Yarmouth, said: “We are pleased that Peel Ports Great Yarmouth is one of the sites being considered for a new logistics hub.

“The project has the potential to create a lasting impact on the region, creating new jobs and tapping into a highly skilled, local workforce.

“Great Yarmouth is already a thriving offshore energy hub, and through supporting this sector, we have built up an excellent reputation to support some of the largest projects in the UK.“

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: “I am pleased that Heathrow are visiting the logistics hubs site.

“Off-site manufacturing - through logistics hubs - are a great opportunity to boost jobs and growth around the Norfolk and beyond, whilst playing an essential part in delivering one of the UK’s most significant infrastructure projects to ensure Britain’s competitiveness for future generations.”

The plans for a third runaway at Heathrow Airport have been costed at £14bn.

If approved and finally built the expansion would see the airport have the capacity to handle 130 million passengers per year with up to 740,000 flight movements annually.

In 2016 it handled 76 million passengers.

Heathrow Airport says it expansion 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 off-site as possible.

The four hubs will work by pre-assembling components off-site before transporting them in what are described as consolidated loads to Heathrow just as they are needed.

It is said this method will boost the project’s efficiency and cut emissions by transporting components to site in fewer lorries.

More 120 sites from across Britain had applied to help build an expanded Heathrow, with that list whittled down to 65 locations across 12 regions, including Great Yarmouth.